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THE STAR ROVER 




'YOr AKi: A MAX," SIIK COMI'LH TKI). •Nor KVKX I\ MY SLEEP HAVE I EVER 
DREAMED THERE WAS SUCH A MAN." 



THE 
STAR ROVER 



BY 

JACK LONDON 



AUTHOR OF 



THE CALL OF THE WILD, THE VALLEY OF 
THE MOON, JOHN BARLEYCORN, Etc. 



* 



NEW YORK 

GROSSET & DUNLAP 

PUBLISHERS 



Published by Arrangement with The Macmillan Company 



COPTEIOHT 1914, 1915 

By the star CO. 



COPTBIGHT 1915 

Br JACK LONDON 

Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1915 
Reprinted October. 1915. Twice November, 1915. 
April, 1917. 



THE STAR ROVER 



THE STAR ROVER 

CHAPTER I 

Alt. my life I have had an awareness of other times an3 ^ 
places. I have been aware of other persons in me. 1 
— Oh, and trust me, so have you, my reader that is to be. 
Read back into your childhood, and this sense of aware- / 
ness I speak of will be remembered as an experience of / 
your childhood. You were then not fixed, not crystal-' ; "^ 
lized. You were plastic, a soul in flux, a consciousness ) 
and an identity in the process of forming — ay, of form-! 
ing and forgetting. 

You have forgotten much, my reader, and yet, as you 
read these lines, you remember dimly the hazy vistas of 
other times and places into which your child eyes peered. 
They seem dreams to you to-day. Yet, if they were 
dreams, dreamed then, whence the substance of them?^ 
Our dreams are grotesquely compounded of the things we | 
know. The stuff of our sheerest dreams is the stuff ot ^ 
our experiences. As a child, a wee child, you dreamed 
you fell great heights; you dreamed you flew through the 
air as things of the air fly; you were vexed by crawling 
spiders and many-legged creatures of the slime ; you heard 
other voices, saw other faces nightmarishly familiar, and 
gazed upon sunrises and sunsets other than you know now, 
looking back, you ever looked upon. 

Very well. These child glimpses are of other-world- 
ness, of other-lifeness, of things that you had never seen 
in this particular world of your particular life. LThen 



2 THE STAE ROVER 

wHence? Other lives? Other worlds? Perhaps, when 
you have read all that I shall write, you will have received 
answers to the perplexities I have propounded to you, and 
that you yourself, ere you came to read me, propounded to 
yourself. 

Wordsworth knew. He was neither seer nor prophet, 
but just ordinary man like you or any man. What he 
knew you know, any man knows. But he most aptly 
stated it in his passage that begins " Not in utter naked- 
ness, not in entire forgetfulness. . . ." 

Ah, truly, shades of the prison house close about us, the 
[new-born things, and all too soon do we forget. And yet, 
)when we were new-born we did remember other times and 
places. We, helpless infants in arms or creeping quadru- 
ped-like on the floor, dreamed our dreams of air-flight. 
lYes; and we endured the torment and torture of night- 
mare fears of dim and monstrous things. We new-bom 
infants, without experience, were bom with fear, with 
memory of fear ; and memory is experience. 

As for myself, at the beginnings of my vocabulary, at so 
tender a period that I still made hunger noises and sleep 
noises, yet even then did I know that I had been a star- 
rover. Yes, I, whose lips had never lisped the word 
" king," remembered that I had once been the son of a 
king. More — I remembered that once I had been a slave 
and a son of a slave, and worn an iron collar round my 
neck. 

Still more. When I was three, and four, and five years 
of age, I was not yet I. I was a mere becoming, a flux of 
spirit not yet cooled solid in the mold of my particular 
flesh and time and place. In that period all that I had 
ever been in ten thousand lives before strove in me, and 
troubled the flux of me, in the effort to incorporate itself 
in me and become me. 



^THE STAR ROVER 3 

Silly, isn't it ? But remember, my reader, whom I hope 
to have travel far with me through time and space — re- 
member, please, my reader, that I have thought much on 
these matters, that through bloody nights and sweats of 
dark that lasted years-long I have been alone with my 
many selves to consult and contemplate my many selves. 
I have gone through the hells of all existences to bring you 
news which you will share with me in a casual comfortable 
hour over my printed page. 

So, to return, I say, during the ages of three and four 
and five, I was not yet I. I was merely becoming as I 
took form in the mold of my body, and all the mighty, 
indestructible past wrought in the mixture of me to de- 
termine what the form of that becoming would be. It was 
not my voice that cried out in the night in fear of things 
known, which I, forsooth, did not and could not know. 
The same with my childish angers, my loves and my laugh- 
ters. Other voices screamed through my voice, the voices 
of men and women aforetime, of all shadowy hosts of 
progenitors. And the snarl of my anger was blended with 
the snarls of beasts more ancient than the mountains, and 
the vocal madness of my child hysteria, with all the red of 
its wrath, was chorded with the insensate, stupid cries of 
beasts pre-Adamic and pregeologic in time. 

And there the secret is out. The red wrath ! It has 
undone me in this, my present life. Because of it, a few 
short weeks hence, I shall be led from this cell to a high 
place with unstable flooring, graced above by a well- 
stretched rope; and there they will hang me by the neck 
until I am dead. The red wrath always has undone me 
in all my lives; for the red wrath is my disastrous catas- 
trophic heritage from the time of the slimy things ere the 
world was prime. 

It is time that I introduce myself. I am neither fool 
nor lunatic. I want you to know this, in order that you 



4 THE STAR EOVEE 

•will believe the things I shall tell you. I am Darrell 
Standing. Some few of you who read this will know me 
immediately. But to the majority, who are bound to be 
strangers, let me exposit myself. Eight years ago I was 
Professor of Agronomics in the College of Agriculture of 
the University of California. Eight years ago the sleepy 
little university town of Berkeley was shocked by the mur- 
der of Professor Haskell in one of the laboratories of the 
Mining Building. Darrell Standing was the murderer. 

I am Darrell Standing. I was caught red-handed. 
Ij^ow the right and the wrong of this affair with Professor 
Haskell I shall not discuss. It was purely a private mat- 
ter. The point is, that in a surge of anger, obsessed by 
that catastrophic red wrath that has cursed me down the 
ages, I killed my fellow professor. The court records 
show that I did; and, for once, I agree with the court 
records. 

1^0 ; I am hot to be hanged for his murder. I received 
a life sentence for my punishment. I was thirty-six years 
of age at the time.y I am now forty-four years old. I 
\^' have spent the eight intervening years in the California 
\ State Prison of San Quentin. Eive of these years I spent 
in the dark. Solitary confinement, they call it. Men 
who endure it, call it living death. But through these five 
years of death-in-life I managed to attain freedom such 
as few men have ever known. Closest-confined of pris- 
oners, not only did I range the world, but I ranged time. 
They who immured me for petty years gave to me, all un- 
wittingly, the largess of the centuries. Truly, thanks to 
Ed Morrell, I have had five years of star-roving. But Ed 
Morrell is another story. I shall tell you about him a 
little later. I have so much to tell I scarce know how to 
begin. 

Well, a beginning. I was bom on a quarter-section in 



THE STAR ROVER '5 

Minnesota. My mother was the daughter of an immigrant 
Swede. Her name was Hilda Tonnesson. My father was 
Chauncey Standing, of old American stock. He traced 
back to Alfred Standing, an indentured servant, or slave 
if you please, who was transported from England to the-V-v 
lYirginia plantations in the days that were even old when ] 
the youthful Washington went a-surveying in the Pennsyl- i 
yania wilderness. 

A son of Alfred Standing fought in the War of the Rev- 
olution; a grandson, in the War of 1812. There have ' 
been no wars since in which the Standings have not been 
represented. I, the last of the Standings, dying soon with- 
out issue, fought as a common soldier in the Philippines, '--^ 
in our latest war, and, to do so, I resigned, in the full 
early ripeness of career, my professorship in the Uni- > 
versity of Nebraska. Good heavens, when I so resigned / 
I was headed for the Deanship of the College of Agricul- j 
ture in that university — I, the star-rover, the red-blooded 
adventurer, the vagabondish Cain of the centuries, the 
militant priest of remotest times, the moon-dreaming poet 
of ages forgotten and to-day unrecorded in man's history 
of man ! 

And here I am, my hands dyed red, in Murderers' Row, 
in the State Prison of Folsom, awaiting the day decreed 
by the machinery of state when the servants of the state 
will lead me away into what they fondly believe is the dark 
— the dark they fear ; the dark that gives them fearsome 
and superstitious fancies; the dark that drives them, 
driveling and yammering, to the altars of their fear-cre- 
ated, anthropomorphic gods. 

]^o ; I shall never be Dean of any college of agriculture. 
And yet I knew agriculture. It was my profession. I 
was born to it, reared to it, trained to it ; and I was a mas- 
ter of it. It was my genius. I can pick the high-per- 



6 THE STAK EOVEK 

centage butter-fat cow with my eye and let the Babcocls 
tester prove the wisdom of my eye. I can look, not at 
land, but at landscape, and pronounce the virtues and the 
shortcomings of the soil. Litmus paper is not necessary 
when I determine a soil to be acid or alkali. I repeat, 
farm-husbandry in its highest scientific terms, was my 
genius, and is my genius. And yet the state, which in- 
cludes all the citizens of the state, believes that it can blot 
out this wisdom of mine in the final dark by means of a 
rope about my neck and the abruptive jerk of gravitation 
— this wisdom of mine that was incubated through the 
millenniums, and that was well-hatched ere the farmed 
fields of Troy were ever pastured by the flocks of nomad 
shepherds ! 

Corn ? Who else knows com ? There is my demonstra- 
tion at Wistar, whereby I increased the annual corn-yield 
of every county in Iowa by half a million of dollars. This 
is history. Many a farmer, riding in his motor-car to-day, 
knows who made possible that motor-car. Many a sweet- 
bosomed girl and bright-browed boy, poring over high- 
school text books, little dreams that I made that higher 
education possible by my corn demonstration at Wistar. 

And farm management ! I know the waste of super- ■ 
fluous motion without studying a moving picture record "" 
of it, whether it be farm or farm-hand, the layout of build- ' 
ings or the layout of the farm-hands' labor. There is my 
handbook and tables on the subject. Beyond the shadow of 
any doubt, at this present moment, a hundred thousand 
farmers are knotting their brows over its spread pages ere 
they tap out their final pipe and go to bed. And yet, so 
far was I beyond my tables, that all I needed was a mere 
look at a man to know his predispositions, his co-ordina- 
tions, and the index fraction of his motion-wastage. 

And here I must close this first chapter of my narrative. 
It is nine o'clock, and in Murderers' Eow that means lights 



THE STAE KOVER 7 

out. Even now, I hear the soft tread of the gum-shoed 
guard as he comes to censure me for my coal-oil lamp still 
burning. As if the mere living could censure the doomed 
to die ! 



CHAPTER II 

I AM Darrell Standing. They are going to take me out 
and hang me pretty soon. In the meantime I say my say, 
and write in these pages of the other times and places. 

After my sentence, I came to spend the rest of my 
" natural life " in the prison of San Quentin. I proved 
incorrigible. An incorrigible is a terrible human being 
— at least such is the connotation of " incorrigible " in 
prison psychology. I became an incorrigible because I 
abhorred waste motion. The prison, like all prisons, was 
an affront and a scandal of waste motion.- They put me 
in the jute mill. The criminality of wastefulness irritated 
me. Why should it not? Elimination of waste motion 
was my specialty. Before the invention of steam or steam- 
driven looms, three thousand years before, I had rotted in 
prison in old Babylon; and, trust me, I speak the truth 
when I say that in that ancient day we prisoners wove more 
efficiently on hand-looms than did the prisoners in the 
steam-powered loom-rooms of San Quentin. 

The crime of waste was abhorrent. I rebelled. I tried 
[to show the guards a score or so of more efficient ways. I 
was reported. I was given the dungeon and the starvation 
of light and food. I emerged and tried to work in the 
chaos of inefficiency of the loom-rooms. I rebelled. I 
was given the dungeon plus the straightjacket. I was 
spread-eagled, and thumbed-up, and privily beaten by the 
stupid guards whose totality of intelligence ^a© only just 
I sufficient to show them that I was different f roni them and 
'Dot so stupid. 

Two years of this witless persecution I endured* It is 



THE STAE EOVER 

terrible for a man to be tied down and gnawed by rats. 
The stupid brutes of guards were rats, and they gnawed 
the intelligence of me, gnawed all the fine nerves of the 
quick of me and of the consciousness of me. And I, who 
in my past have been a most valiant fighter, in this present 
life was no fighter at all. I was a farmer, an agriculturist, 
a desk-tied professor, a laboratory slave, interested only 
in the soil and the increase of the productiveness of the 
soil. 

I fought in the Philippines because it was the tradition ' 
of the Standings to fight. I had no aptitude for fighting. [ 
It was all too ridiculous, the introducing of disruptive' 
foreign substances into the bodies of little black men-folk. 
It was laughable to behold Science prostituting all the S«j/ 
might of its achievement and the wit of its inventors to 
the violent introducing of foreign substances into the 
bodies of black folk. 

As I say, in obedience to the tradition of the Standings 
I went to war and found that I had no aptitude for war. 
So did my officers find me out, because they made me a 
quartermaster's clerk, and as a clerk, at a desk, I fought 
through the Spanish-American War. 

So it was not because I was a fighter, but because I was 
a thinker, that I was enraged by the motion-wastage of the 
loom-rooms and was persecuted by the guards into becom- 
ing an " incorrigible." One's brain worked and I was 
punished for its working. As I told Warden Atherton, 
when my incorrigibility had become so notorious that he 
had me in on the carpet in his private office to plead with 
me ; as I told him then : 

" It is so absurd, my dear Warden, to think that your 
rat-throttlers of guards can shake out of my brain the 
things that are clear and definite in my brain. The whole 
organization of this prison is stupid. You are a politician. 
You can weave the political pull of San Franeisco saloon- 



Vw 



10 THE STAK EOVER 

men and ward heelers into a position of graft such as this 
one you occupy; but you can't weave jute. Your loom- 
rooms are fifty years behind the times. . . ." 

But why continue the tirade ? — for tirade it was. 1 
showed him what a fool he was, and as a result he decided 
that I was a hopeless incorrigible. 

Give a dog a bad name — you know the saw. Very 
well. Warden Atherton gave the final sanction to the bad- 
ness of my name. I was fair game. More than one con- 
vict's dereliction was shunted off on me, and was paid for 
by me in the dungeon on bread and water, or in being triced 
up by the thumbs on my tip-toes for long hours, each hour 
of which was longer than the memory of any life I have 
ever lived. 

Intelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously 
cruel. The guards and the men over me, from the warden 
down, were stupid monsters. Listen, and you shall learn 
what they did to me. There was a poet in the prison, a 
convict, a weak-chinned, broad-browed degenerate poet. 
He was a forger. He was a coward. He was a snitcher. 
He was a stool — strange words for a professor of agro- 
nomics to use in writing, but a professor of agronomics 
may well learn strange words when pent in prison for the 
term of his natural life. 

This poet-forger's name was Cecil Winwood. He had 
had prior convictions, and yet, because he was a sniveling 
cur of a yellow dog, his last sentence had been only for 
seven years. Good credits would materially reduce this 
time. My time was life. Yet this miserable degenerate, 
in order to gain several short years of liberty for himself, 
succeeded in adding a fair portion of eternity to my own 
life-time term. 

I shall tell what happened the other way around, for 
it was only after a weary period that I learned. This 
Cecil Winwood, in order to curry favor with the Captain 



THE STAR ROVER 11 

of the Yard, and thence the warden, the Prison Directors^ 
the Board of Pardons, and the Governor of California, 
framed up a prison-break. ISTow note three things: 
(a) Cecil Winwood was so detested by his fellow convicts 
that they would not have permitted him to bet an ounce of 
Bull Durham on a bed-bug race — and bed-bug racing was^ 
a great sport with the convicts; (b) I was the dog that 
had been given a bad name; (c) for his frame-up, Cecil 
Winwood needed the dogs with bad names, the life-timers, 
the desperate ones, the incorrigibles. 

But the lifers detested Cecil Winwood, and, when he 
approached them with his plan of a wholesale prison- 
break, they laughed at him and turned him away with 
curses for the stool that he was. But he fooled them in 
the end, forty of the bitterest-wise ones in the pen. He 
approached them again and again. He told of his power 
in the prison by virtue of his being trusty in the warden's 
office, and because of the fact that he had the run of the 
dispensary. 

" Show me," said Long Bill Hodge, a mountaineer do- 
ing life for train robbery, and whose whole soul for years 
had been bent on escaping in order to kill the companion 
in robbery who had turned state's evidence on him. 

Cecil Winwood accepted the test. He claimed that he 
could dope the guards the night of the break. 

" Talk is cheap," said Long Bill Hodge. " What we 
want is the goods. Dope one of the guards to-night. 
There's Bamum. He's no good. He beat up that crazy 
Chink yesterday in Bughouse Alley . . . when he was off 
duty, too. He's on the night watch. Dope him to-night 
an' make him lose his job. Show me, and we'll talk busi- 
ness with you." 

All this Long Bill told me in the dungeons afterward. 
Cecil Winwood demurred against the immediacy of the 
demonstration. He claimed that he must have time in 



12 THE STAE ROVER 

which to steal the dope from the dispensary. They gave 
him the time, and a week later he announced that he was 
ready. Eorty hard-bitten lifers waited for the guard Bar- 
num to go to sleep on his shift. And Bamum did. He 
was found asleep, and he was discharged for sleeping on 
duty. 

Of course, that convinced the lifers. But there was the 
Captain of the Yard to convince. To him, daily, Cecil 
Winwood was reporting the progress of the break — all 
fancied and fabricated in his own imagination. The Cap- 
tain of the Yard demanded to be shown. Winwood 
showed him, and the full details of the showing I did not 
learn until a year afterward, so slowly do the secrets of 
prison intrigue leak out. 

Winwood said that the forty men in the break, in whose 
confidence he was, had already such power in the prison 
that they were about to begin smuggling in automatic pis- 
tols by means of the guards they had bought up. 

" Show me," the Captain of the Yard must have de- 
manded. 

And the forger-poet showed him. In the bakery, night 
work was a regular thing. One of the convicts, a baker, 
was on the first night-shift. He was a stool of the Cap- 
tain of the Yard, and Winwood knew it. 

" To-night," he told the captain, " Summerface will 
bring in a dozen '44 automatics. On his next time ofiF 
he'll bring in the ammunition. But to-night he'll turn 
the automatics over to me in the bakery. You've got a 
good stool there. He'll make you his report to-morrow." 

Now Summerface was a strapping figure of a bucolic 
guard who hailed from Humboldt County. He was a sim- 
ple-minded, good-natured dolt and not above earning an 
honest dollar by smuggling in tobacco for the convicts. On 
that night, returning from a trip to San Francisco, he 
brought in with him fifteen pounds of prime cigarette to- 



THE STAE EOVER 13 

bacco. He had done this before, and delivered the stuff to 
Cecil Winwood. So, on that particular night, he, all un- 
witting, turned the stuff over to Winwood in the bakery. 
It was a big, solid, paper-wrapped bundle of innocent to- 
bacco. The stool baker, from concealment, saw the pack- 
age delivered to Winwood and so reported to the Captain of 
the Yard next morning. 

But in the meantime the poet-forger's too-lively imagina- 
tion ran away with him. He was guilty of a slip that gave 
me five years of solitary confinement and that placed me in 
this condemned cell in which I now write. And all the 
time I knew nothing about it. I did not even know of the 
break he had inveigled the forty lifers into planning. I 
knew nothing, absolutely nothing. And the rest knew lit- 
tle. The lifers did not know he was giving them the cross. 
The Captain of the Yard did not know that the cross was 
being worked on him. Summerf ace was the most innocent 
of all. At the worst, his conscience could have accused 
him only of smuggling in some harmless tobacco. 

And now to the stupid, silly, melodramatic slip of Cecil 
Winwood. 'Next morning, when he encountered the Cap- 
tain of the Yard, he was triumphant. His imagination 
took the bit in its teeth. 

" Well, the stuff came in all right as you said," the Cap- 
tain of the Yard remarked. 

" And enough of it to blow half the prison sky-high," 
Winwood corroborated. 

" Enough of what ? " the captain demanded. 

" Dynamite and detonators," the fool rattled on. 
" Thirty-five pounds of it. Your stool saw Summerface 
pass it over to me." 

And right there the Captain of the Yard must have 
nearly died. I can actually sympathize wnth him — 
thirty-five pounds of dynamite loose in the prison. 



U THE STAE EOVER 

They say that Captain Jamie — that was his nickname 
— sat down and held his head in his hands. 

" Where is it now ? " he cried. " I want it. Take me 
to it at once." 

And right there Cecil Winwood saw his mistake. 

" I planted it," he lied — for he was compelled to lie 
'" because, being merely tobacco in small packages, it was 
long since distributed among the convicts along the cus- 
tomary channels. 

" Very well," said Captain Jamie, getting himself in 
hand. " Lead me to it at once." 

But there was no plant of high explosives to lead him 
to. The thing did not exist, had never existed save in the 
imagination of the wretched Winwood. 

In a large prison like San Quentin there are always hid- 
ing places for things. And as Cecil Winwood led Cap- 
tain Jamie he must have done some rapid thinking. 

As Captain Jamie testified before the Board of Di- 
rectors, and as Winwood also testified, on the way to the 
hiding place Winwood said that he and I had planted the 
powder together. 

— And I, just released from five days in the dungeons 
and eighty hours in the jacket; I, whom even the stupid 
guards could see was too weak to work in the loom-room ; 
' I, who had been given the day off to recuperate — from too 
terrible punishment — I was named as the one who had 
helped hide the non-existent thirty-five pounds of high ex- 
plosive ! 

Winwood led Captain Jamie to the alleged hiding place. 
Of course they found no dynamite in it. 

" My God ! " Winwood lied. " Standing has given me 
the cross. He's lifted the plant and stowed it somewhere 
else." 

The Captain of the Yard said more emphatic things 



THE STAE EOVER 15 

than " My God ! " Also, on the spur of the moment but 
cold-bloodedly, he took Winwood into his own private of- 
fice, locked the doors, and beat him up frightfully — all 
of which came out before the Board of Directors. But 
that was afterward. In the meantime, even while he took 
his beating, Winwood swore by the truth of what he had 
told. 

What was Captain Jamie to do? He was convinced 
that thirty-five pounds of dynamite were loose in the 
prison and that forty desperate lifers were ready for a 
break. Oh, he had Summerface in on the carpet, and, 
although Summerface insisted the package contained to- 
bacco, Winwood swore it was dynamite and was be- 
lieved. 

At this stage I enter ... or, rather, I depart ; for they 
took me away out of the sunshine and the light of day to 
the dungeons, and in the dungeons and in the solitary cells, 
out of the sunshine and the light of day, I rotted for five 
years. 

I was puzzled. I had only just been released from the 
dungeon, and was lying pain-wracked in my customary 
cell, when they took me back to the dungeon. 

" JSTow," said Winwood to Captain Jamie, " though we 
don't know where it is, the dynamite is safe. Standing 
is the only man who does know, and he can't pass the word 
out from the dungeon. The men are ready to make the 
break. We can catch them red-handed. It is up to me 
to set the time. I'll tell them two o'clock to-night, and tell 
them that, with the guards doped, I'll unlock their cells 
and give them their automatics. If, at two o'clock to- 
night, you don't catch the forty I shall name with their 
clothes on and wide awake, then, Captain, you can give 
me solitary for the rest of my sentence. And with 
Standing and the forty tight in the dungeons, we'll 
have all the time in the world to locate the dynamite." 



16 THE STAE EOVEK 

" If we have to tear the prison down stone by stone," 
Captain Jamie added valiantly. 

That was six years ago. In all the intervening time 
they have never found that non-existent explosive, and they 
have turned the prison upside-down a thousand times in 
searching for it. Nevertheless, to his last day in office 
' Warden Atherton believed in the existence of that dyna- 
mite. Captain Jamie, who is still Captain of the Yard, 
believes to this day that the dynamite is somewhere in the 
prison. Only yesterday, he came all the way up from San 
Quentin to Folsom to make one more effort to get me to 
reveal the hiding place. I know he will never breathe easy 
until they swing me off. 



CHAPTER III 

All that day I lay in the dungeon cudgeling my brains 
for the reason of this new and inexplicable punish- 
ment. All I could conclude was that some stool had lied 
an infraction of the rules on me in order to curry favor 
with the guards. 

Meanwhile Captain Jamie fretted his head off and pre- 
pared for the night, while Winwood passed the word along 
to the forty lifers to be ready for the break. And two 
hours after midnight every guard in the prison was under 
orders. This included the day-shift which should have 
been asleep. When two o'clock came, they rushed the cells 
occupied by the forty. The rush was simultaneous. The 
cells were opened at the same moment, and without excep- 
tion the men named by Winwood were found out of their 
bunks, fully dressed, and crouching just inside their doors. 
Of course, this was verification absolute of all the fabric of 
lies that the poet-forger had spun for Captain Jamie. 
The forty lifers were caught in red-handed readiness for 
the break. What if they did unite afterward, in averring 
that the break had been planned by Winwood? The 
Prison Board of Directors believed, to a man, that the forty 
lied in an effort to save themselves. The Board of Par- 
dons likewise believed, for, ere three months were up, 
Cecil Winwood, forger and poet, most despicable of men, 
was pardoned out. 

Oh, well, the stir, or the pen, as they call it in convict 
argot, is a training school for philosophy. No inmate can 
survive years of it without having had burst for him his 
fondest illusions and fairest metaphysical bubbles. Truth 

17 



18 THE STAE EOVER 

lives, we are taught; murder will out. Well, this is a 
demonstration that murder does not always come out. 
The Captain of the Yard, the late Warden Atherton, the 
Prison Board of Directors to a man — all believe, right 
now, in the existence of that dynamite that never existed 
^ save in the slippery-geared and all too-accelerated brain of 
^the degenerate forger and poet, Cecil Winwood. And 
•Cecil Winwood still lives, while I, of all men concerned, 
the utterest, absolutist, innocentest, go to the scaffold in 
a few short weeks. 

And now I must tell how entered the forty lifers upon 
my dungeon stillness. I was asleep when the outer door to 
the corridor of dungeons clanged open and aroused me. 
^' Some poor devil," was my thought ; and my next thought 
was that he was surely getting his, as I listened to the 
scuffling of feet, the dull impact of blows on flesh, the sud- 
den cries of pain, the filth of curses, and the sounds of 
dragging bodies. For, you see, every man was man- 
handled all the length of the way. 

f Dungeon door after dungeon door clanged open, and 
/"body after body was thrust in, flung in, or dragged in. 
I And continually more groups of guards arrived with more 
beaten convicts who still were being beaten, and more 
; dungeon-doors were opened to receive the bleeding frames 
I of men who were guilty of yearning after freedom. 
j Yes, as I look back upon it, a man must be greatly a 
j philosopher to survive the continual impact of such brut- 
{ ish experiences through the years and years. I am such 
V^ y^ philosopher. I have endured eight years of their tor- 
[ment, and now, in the end, failing to gel rid of me in all 
jother ways, they have invoked the machinery of state to 
I put a rope around my neck and shut off my breath by the 
weight of my body. Oh, I know how the experts give ex- 
pert judgment that the fall through the trap breaks the 



THE STAE EOVER 19 

victim's neck. And the victims, like Shakespeare's 
traveler, never return to testify to the contrary. But we 
who have lived in the stir know of the cases that are hushed 
in the prison crypts, where the victim's necks are not 
broken. 

It is a funny thing, this hanging of a man. I have 
never seen a hanging, but I have been told by eye-witnessea 
the details of a dozen hangings so that I know what will 
happen to me. Standing on the trap, leg-manacled and 
arm-manacled, the knot against the neck, the black cap 
dra^\Ti, they will drop me down until the momentum of my 
descending weight is fetched up abruptly short by the 
tautening of the rope. Then the doctors will group around 
me, and one will relieve another in successive turns in 
standing on a stool, his arms passed around me to keep me 
from swinging like a pendulum, his ear pressed close to my 
chest while he counts my fading heart-beats. Sometimes 
twenty minutes elapses after the trap is sprung ere the 
heart stops beating. Oh, trust me, they make most scien- 
tifically sure that a man is dead once they get him on a 
rope. 

I will wander aside from my narrative to ask a question 
or two of society. I have a right so to wander and so to 
question, for in a little while they are going to take me 
out and do this thing to me. If the neck of the victim be 
broken by the alleged shrewd arrangement of knot and 
noose, and by the alleged shrewd calculation of the weight 
of the victim and the length of slack, then why do they 
manacle the arms of the victim ? Society, as a whole, is 
unable to answer this question. But I know why ; so does 
any amateur who ever engaged in a l^Tiching bee and saw 
the victim throw up his hands, clutch the rope, and ease the 
throttle of the noose about his neck so that he might 
breathe. 

Another question I will ask of the smug, cotton-wooled 



20 THE STAR EOVER 

member of society, whose soul has never strayed to the red 
hells. Why do they put the black cap over the head and 
face of the victim ere they drop him through the trap ? 
Please remember that in a short while they will put that 
black cap over my head. So I have a right to ask. Do 
they, your hang-dogs, O smug citizen, do these your hang- ; 
dogs fear to gaze upon the facial horror of the horror they /. 
perpetrate for you at your behest ? 

Please remember that I am not asking this question in 
the twelve-hundredth year after Christ, nor in the time of 
Christ, nor in the twelve-hundredth year before Christ. 
I, who am to be hanged this year, the nineteen-hundred- 
and-thirteenth after Christ, ask these questions of you who 
are assumably Christ's followers, of you whose hang-dogs 
are going to take me out and hide my face under a black 
cloth because they dare not look upon the horror they do to 
me while I yet live. 

And now back to the situation in the dungeons. When 
the last guard departed and the outer door clanged shut, 
all the forty beaten disappointed men began to talk and 
ask questions. But almost immediately, roaring like a 
bull in order to be heard, Skysail Jack, a giant sailor of a 
lifer, ordered silence while a census could be taken. The 
dungeons were full, and dungeon by dungeon, in order of ^ 
dungeons, shouted out its quota to the roll call. Thus, 
every dungeon was accounted for as occupied by trusted 
convicts, so that there was no opportunity for a stool to 
be hidden away and listening. 

Of me, only, were the convicts dubious, for I was the 
one man who had not been in the plot. They put me 
through a searching examination. I could but tell them 
how I had just emerged from dungeon and jacket in the 
morning, and without rhjTue or reason, so far as I could 
discover, had been put back in the dungeon after being out 



THE STAK EOVER 21 

only several hours. My record as an incorrigible was in 
my favor, and soon they began to talk. 

As I lay there and listened, for the first time I learned 
of the break that had been a-hatching. " Who had 
squealed ? " was their one quest, and throughout the night 
the quest was pursued. The quest for Cecil Winwood was 
vain, and the suspicion against him was general. 

" There's only one thing, lads," Skysail Jack finally 
said. " It'll soon be morning, and then they'll take us 
out and give us bloody hell. We were caught dead to 
rights with our clothes on. Winwood crossed us and 
squealed. They're going to get us out one by one and 
mess us up. There's forty of us. Any lyin's bound to bo^ 
found out. So each lad, when they sweat him, just tells 
the truth, the whole truth, so help him God." 

And there, in that dark hole of man's inhumanity, irom^y 
dungeon cell to dungeon cell, their mouths against tho 
gratings, the two-score lifers solemnly pledged themselves 
before God to tell the truth. f 

Little good did their truth-telling do them. At nine 
o'clock the guards, paid bravos of the smug citizens who 
constitute the state, full of meat and sleep, were upon us.| 
Not only had we had no breakfast, but we had had no| 
water. And beaten men are prone to feverishness. 11 
wonder, my reader, if you can glimpse or guess the faintest 
connotation of a man beaten — " beat up," we prisoners 
call it. But no, I shall not tell you. Let it suffice to 
know that these beaten feverish men lay seven hours with- 
out water. • — 

At nine the guards arrived. There were not many of 
them. There was no need for many, because they un- 
locked only one dungeon at a time. They were equipped 
with pick-handles — a handy tool for the " disciplining " 
of a helpless man. One dungeon at a time, and dungeon 



22 THE STAR ROVER 

bj dungeon, they messed and pulped the lifers. They 
were impartial. I received the same pulping as the rest. 
And this was merely the beginning, the preliminary to the 
examination each man was to undergo alone in the pres- 
ence of the paid brutes of the state. It was the forecast 
to each man of what each man might expect in inquisition 
hall. 

I have been through most of the red hells of prison life, 
but, worst of all, far worse than what they intend to do 
with me in a short while, was the particular hell of the 
dungeons in the days that followed. 

Long Bill Hodge, the hard-bitten mountaineer, was the 
first man interrogated. He came back two hours later — 
or, rather, they conveyed him back, and threw him on the 
stone of his dungeon floor. Then they took away Luigi 
Polazzo, a San Francisco hoodlum, the first native genera- 
tion of Italian parentage, who jeered and sneered at them 
and challenged them to wreak their worst upon him. 

It was some time before Long Bill Hodge mastered hia 
pain sufficiently to be coherent. 

" What about this dynamite ? " he demanded. " Who 
knows anything about d}Tiamite ? " 

And of course nobody knew, although it had been the 
burden of the interrogation put to him. 

Luigi Polazzo came back in a little less than two hours, 
and he came back a wreck that babbled in delirium and 
could give no answer to the questions showered upon him 
along the echoing corridor of dungeons by the men who 
were yet to get what he had got and who desired greatly 
to know what things had been done to him and what in- 
terrogations had been put to him. 

Twice again in the next forty-eight hours Luigi was 
taken out and interrogated. Aiter that, a gibbering im- 
becile, he went to live in Bughouse Alley. He has a 
strong constitution. His shoulders are broad, his nostrils 



THE STAR ROVER 23 

wide, his chest is deep, his blood is pure ; he will continue 
to gibber in Bughouse Alley long after I have swung off 
and escaped the torment of the penitentiaries of California. 
Man after man was taken away, one at a time, and thej 
wrecks of men were brought back, one by one, to rave and^ 
howl in the darkness. And as I lay there and listened to' 
the moaning and the groaning and all the idle chattering 
of pain-addled wits, somehow, vaguely reminiscent, it 
seemed to me that somewhere, sometime, I had sat in a 
high place, callous and proud, and listened to a similar 
chorus of moaning and groaning. Afterwards, as you shall 
learn, I identified this reminiscence and knew that the 
moaning and the groaning was of the sweep-slaves man- 
acled to their benches, which I heard from above, on the 
poop, a soldier passenger on a galley of old Rome. That 
was when I sailed for Alexandria, a captain of men, on my 
way to Jerusalem . . . but that is a story I shall tell you 
later. In the meanwhile . . . 



t* 



CHAPTER IV 

In the meanwhile obtained the horror of the dungeons, 
after the discovery of the plot to break prison. And never, * 
during those eternal hours of waiting, was it absent from 
my consciousness that I should follow these other convicts 
out, endure the hell of inquisition they endured, and be 
brought back a wreck and flung on the stone floor of my 
stone-walled, iron-doored dungeon. 

They came for me. Ungraciously and ungently, with! 
blow and curse, they haled me forth, and I faced Captain 
Jamie and Warden Atherton, themselves arrayed with the 
strength of half a dozen state-bought, tax-paid brutes of 
guards who lingered in the room to do any bidding. But ' 
they were not needed. 

" Sit down," said Warden Atherton. indicating a stout 
arm-chair. 

I, beaten and sore, without water for a night long and 
a day long, faint with hunger, weak from a beating that 
had been added to five days in the dungeon and eighty . 
hours in the jacket, oppressed by the calamity of human 
fate, apprehensive of what was to happen to me from 
what I had seen happen to the others — I, a wavering waif 
of a human man and an erstwhile professor of agronomy in 
a quiet college town, I hesitated to accept the invitation 
to sit down. 

Warden Atherton was a large man and a very powerful 

man. His hands flashed out to a grip on my shoulders. 

I was a straw in his strength. He lifted me clear of the 

floor and crashed me down in the chair. 

" Now," he said, while I gasped and swallowed my pain, 

24 



THE STAK ROVER 25 

" tell me all about it, Standing. Spit it out — all of it, if 
you know what's healthy for you." 

" I don't know anything about what has happened . . ." 
I began. 

That was as far as I got. With a growl and a leap he 
was upon me. Again he lifted me in the air and crashed 
me down into the chair. 

" Xo nonsense, Standing," he warned. " Make a clean 
breast of it. Where is the djTiamite ? " 

''I don't know anything of any djuamite — " I pro- 
tested. 

Once again I was lifted and smashed back into the chair. 

I have endured tortures of various sorts, but when I re-' 
fleet upon them in the quietness of these my last days, TT^ 
am confident that no other torture was quite the equal 
of that chair torture. By my body that stout chair was 
battered out of any semblance of a chair. Another chair 
was brought, and in time that chair was demolished. But 
more chairs were brought, and the eternal questioning 
about the dynamite went on. 

WTien Warden Atherton grew tired. Captain Jamie re- 
lieved him; and then the guard Monohan took Captain 
Jamie's place in smashing me down into the chair. And 
always it was djmamite, dynamite, " where is the dyna- 
mite ? ", and there was no dynamite. Why, toward the 
last I would have given a large portion of my immortal 
soul for a few pounds of dynamite to which I could con- 
fess. 

I do not know how many chairs were broken by my body. 
I fainted times without number, and toward the last the 
whole thing became nightmarish. I was half-carried, half- 
shoved and dragged back to the dark. There, when I be- 
came conscious, I found a stool in my dungeon. lie was 
a pallid-faced little dopc-flend of a short-timer who would 
do anything to obtain the drug. As soon as I recognized 



U 



26 THE STAR ROVER 

him I crawled to the grating and shouted out along the 
corridor : 

" There is a stool in with me, fellows ! He's Ignatius 
Irvine ! Watch out what you say ! " 

The outburst of imprecations that went up would have 
shaken the fortitude of a braver man than Ignatius Irvine. 
He was pitiful in his terror, while all about him, roaring 
like beasts, the pain-wracked lifers told him what awful 
things they would do to him in the years that were to 
come. 

Had there been secrets, the presence of a stool in the 
dungeons would have kept the men quiet. As it was, hav- 
ing all sworn to tell the truth, they talked openly before 
Ignatius Irvine. The one great puzzle was the dynamite, 
of which they were as much in the dark as was I, They 
appealed to me. If I knew anything about the dynamite 
they begged me to confess it and save them all from further 
misery. And I could tell them only the truth, that I knew 
of no dynamite. 

One thing the stool told me, before the guards removed 
him, showed how serious was this matter of the dynamite. 
Of course, I passed the word along, which was that not a 
wheel had turned in the prison all day. The thousands of 
convict workers had remained locked in their cells, and the 
outlook was that not one of the various prison-factories 
would be operated again until after the discovery of some 
dynamite that somebody had hidden somewhere in the 
prison. 

And ever the examination went on. Ever, one at a 
time, convicts were dragged away and dragged or carried 
back again. They reported that Warden Atherton and 
Captain Jamie, exhausted by their efforts, relieved each 
other every two hours. While one slept, the other ex- 
amined. And they slept in their clothes in the very room 
in which strong man after strong man was being broken. 



THE STAR ROVER n 

And hour by hour, in the dark dungeons, our madnesi^ 
of torment grew. Oh, trust me as one who knows, hang-, 
ing is an easy thing compared with the way live men ma;;^ \ 
be hurt in all the life of them and still live. I, too, suf- 
fered equally with them from pain and thirst ; but added 
to my suffering was the fact that I remained conscious- 
to the sufferings of the others. I had been an incorri- 
gible for two years, and my nerves and brain were hardened 
to suffering. It is a frightful thing to see a strong man 
broken. About me, at the one time, were forty strong 
men being broken. Ever the cry for water went up, and 
the place became lunatic with the crying, sobbing, babbling 
and raving of men in delirium. 

Don't you see % Our truth, the very truth we told, was 
our damnation. When forty men told the same things 
with such unanimity. Warden Atherton and Captain Jamie 
could only conclude that the testimony was a memorized 
lie which each of the forty rattled off parrot-like. 

irom the standpoint of the authorities, their situation 
was as desperate as ours. As I learned afterward, the 
Board of Prison Directors had been summoned by tele- 
graph, and two companies of state militia were being 
rushed to the prison. 

It was winter weather, and the frost is sometimes shrewd 
even in a California winter. We had no blankets in the 
dungeons. Please know that it is very cold to stretch! 
bruised human flesh on frosty stone. In the end they did 
give us water. Jeering and cursing us, the guards ran in 
the fire-hose and played the fierce streams on us, dungeon 
by dungeon, hour after hour, until our bruised flesh was 
battered all anew by the violence with which the water 
smote us, until we stood knee-deep in the water which we 
had raved for and for which now we raved to cease. 

I shall skip the rest of what happened in the dungeons. 
In passing I shall merely state that no one of those forty^ 



28 THE STAE ROVEK 

lifers was ever the same again. Luigi Polazzo never re- 
covered his reason. Long Bill Hodge slowly lost his 
sanity, so that a year later, he, too, went to live in Bug- 
house Alley. Oh, and others followed Hodge and Po- 
lazzo; and others, whose physical stamina had been im- 
paired, fell victims to prison-tuberculosis. Fully twenty- 
five per cent, of the forty have died in the succeeding six 
years. 

After my five years in solitary, when they took me away 
from San Quentin for my trial, I saw Skysail Jack. I 
could see little, for I was blinking in the sunshine like a 
bat, after five years of darkness ; yet I saw enough of Sky- 
sail Jack to pain my heart. It was in crossing the Prison 
Yard that I saw him. His hair had turned white. He 
^vas prematurely old. His chest had caved in. His 
cheeks were sunken. His hands shook as with palsy. He 
tottered as he walked. And his eyes blurred with tears as 
he recognized me, for I, too, was a sad wreck of what had 
once been a man. I weighed eighty-seven pounds. My 
hair, streaked with gray, was a five years' growth, as were 
my beard and mustache. And I, too, tottered as I walked, 
so that the guards helped to lead me across that sun-blind- 
ing patch of yard. And Skysail Jack and I peered and 
knew each other under the wreckage. 

Men such as he are privileged, even in a prison, so that 
he dared an infraction of the rules by speaking to me in a 
cracked and quavering voice. 

" You're a good one. Standing," he cackled. " You 
never squealed." 

" But I never knew. Jack," I whispered back — I was 
compelled to whisper, for five years of disuse had well nigh 
lost me my voice. " I don't think there ever was any 
dynamite." 

" That's right," he cackled, nodding his head childishly. 
" Stick with it. Don't ever let'm know. You're a good 



THE STAK EOVER 2^ 

one. I take my hat off to you, Standing. You never 
squealed." 

And the guards led me on, and that was the last I saw 
of Skysail Jack. It was plain that even he had become 
a believer in the dynamite myth. 

Twice they had me before the full Board of Directors. 
I was alternately bullied and cajoled. Their attitude re- 
solved itself into two propositions. If I delivered up the 
dynamite they would give me a nominal punishment of 
thirty days in the dungeon and then make me a trusty in 
the prison library. If I persisted in my stubbornness and 
did not yield up the dynamite, then they would put me in, 
solitary for the rest of my sentence. In my case, being a\ 
life prisoner, this was tantamount to condemning me to \ 
solitary confinement for life. * 

Oh, no; California is civilized. There is no such lavn 
on the statute books. It is a cruel and unusual punish- i 
ment, and no modern state would be guilty of such a law.^ 
ISTevertheless, in the history of California I am the third 
man who has been condemned for life to solitary confine; 
ment. The other two were Jake Oppenheimer and Ed 
Morrell. I shall tell you about them soon, for I rotted 
with them for years in the cells of silence. 

Oh, another thing. They are going to take me out and 
hang me in a little while — no, not for killing Professor 
Haskell. I got life imprisonment for that. They are go- 
ing to take me out and hang me because I was found guilty 
of assault and battery. And this is not prison discipline. 
It is law, and as law it will bo found in the criminal 
statutes. 

I believe I made a man's nose bleed. I never saw it 
bleed, but that was the evidence. Thurston, his name was.; 
He was a guard at San Quentin. He weighed one hun- 
dred and seventy pounds and was in good health. 1] 



-^ 



BO THE STAK ROVER 

•Weighed "under ninety pounds, was blind as a bat from the 
long darkness, and had been so long pent in narrow walls 
ihat I was made dizzy by large open spaces. Really, mine 
:was a well-defined case of incipient agoraphobia, as I 
quickly learned that day I escaped from solitary and 
punched the guard Thurston on the nose. 

I struck him on the nose and made it bleed when he got 
in my way and tried to catch hold of me. And so, they 
\are going to hang me. It is the written law of the State 
of California that a life-timer like me is guilty of a capital 
orime when he strikes a prison guard like Thurston, 
purely, he could not have been inconvenienced more than 
half an hour by that bleeding nose; and yet they are go- 
ing to hang me for it. 

/ And, see ! This law, in my case, is ex post facto. It 
was not a law at the time I killed Professor Haskell. It 
was not passed until after I received my life sentence. 
And this is the very point : my life sentence gave me my 
status under this law which had not yet been written on the 
books. And it is because of my status of life-termer that 
|I am to be hanged for battery committed on the guard 
Thurston. It is clearly ex post facto, and therefore, un- 
; constitutional. 

, But what bearing has the Constitution on constitutional 
lawyers, when they want to put the notorious Professor 
Darrell Standing out of the way ? IsTor do I even establish 
the precedent with my execution. A year ago, as every- 
body who reads the newspapers knows, they hanged Jake 
Oppenheimer, right here in Folsom, for a precisely similar 
offense . . . only, in his case of battery, he was not guilty 
of making a guard's nose bleed. He cut a convict uninten- 
tionally with a bread-knife when the convict tried to take 
the bread-knife away from him. 

It is strange — life and men's ways and laws and tan- 
gled paths. I am writing these lines in the very cell in 



THE STAR EOVER 31 

Murderers' Eow that Jake Oppenheimer occupied ere they 
took him out and did to him what they are going to do to 
me. 

I warned you I had many things to write about. I shall 
now return to my narrative. The Board of Prison Di- 
rectors gave me my choice : a prison trustyship and surcease 
from the jute-looms if I gave up the non-existent dyna- 
mite ; life imprisonment in solitary if I refused to give up 
the non-existent dynamite. 

They gave me twenty-four hours in the jacket to thinlc 
it over. Then I was brought before the Board a second 
time. What could I do? I could not lead them to the 
dynamite that was not, I told them so, and they told me 
I was a liar. They told me I was a hard case, a danger- 
ous man, a moral degenerate^ the criminal of the century. 
They told me many other things, and then they carried 
me away to the solitary cells. I was put into ISTumber 
One cell. In Number Five lay Ed Morrell. In Number 
Twelve lay Jake Oppenheimer. And he had been there 
for ten years. Ed Morrell had been in his cell only one 
year. He was serving a fifty-years sentence. Jake Op- 
penheimer was a lifer. And so was I a lifer. Wherefore 
the outlook was that the three of us would remain there 
for a long time. And yet, six years only are past, and not 
one of us is in solitary. Jake Oppenlieimer was swung 
off. Ed Morrell was made head trusty of San Quentin 
and then pardoned out only the other day. And here I am 
in Eolsom waiting the day duly set by Judge Morgan, 
which will be my last day. 

— The fools ! As if they could throttle my immortality 
"with their clumsy device of rope and scaffold! I shall 
walk, and walk again, oh, countless times, this fair earth. 
And I shall walk in the flesh, be prince and peasant, . 
savant and fool, sit in the high place and groan under the \ 
•wheel 



-^ "^ CHAPTER V 

i It was very lonely, at first, in solitary, and the hours 
were long. Time was marked by the regular changing of 
the guards, and by the alternation of day and night. Day 
was only a little light, but it was better than the all-dark 
of the night. In solitary, the day was an ooze, a slimy 
seepage of light from the bright outer world. 

Never was the light strong enough to read by. Besides, 
there was nothing to read. One could only lie and think 
iand think. And I was a lifer, and it seemed certain, if 
I did not do a miracle, make thirty-five pounds of d\Tia- 
mite out of nothing, that all the years of my life would 
be spent in the silent dark. 

My bed was a thin and rotten tick of straw spread on 
the cell floor. One thin and filthy blanket constituted the 
covering. There was no chair, no table — nothing but the 
tick of straw and the thin, aged blanket. I was ever a 
• short sleeper and ever a busy-brained man. In solitary 
; one grows sick of oneself in his thoughts, and the only way 
to escape oneself is to sleep. For years I had averaged 
five hours sleep a night. I now cultivated sleep. I made 
a science of it. I became able to sleep ten hours, then 
twelve hours, and, at last, as high as fourteen and fifteen 
hours out of the twenty-four. But beyond that I could 
not go, and, perforce, was compelled to lie awake and think 
and think. And that way, for an active-brained man, lay 
madness. 

I sought devices to enable me mechanically to abide my 
waking hours. I squared and cubed long series of num- 
bers, and by concentration and will carried on most as- 

32 



THE STAE ROVER 33 

tonishing geometric progressions. I even dallied with the 
squaring of the circle . . . until I found myself begin- 
ning to believe that that impossibility could be accom- 
plished. Whereupon, realizing that there, too, lay mad- 
ness, I forewent the squaring of the circle, although I as- 
sure you it required a considerable sacrifice on my part, , 
for the mental exercise involved was a splendid time- 
killer. 

By sheer visualization under my eyelids, I constructed 
chess boards and played both sides of long games through 
to checkmate. But when I had become expert at this 
visualized game of memory, the exercise palled on me. 
Exercise it was, for there could be no real contest when the 
same player played both sides. I tried, and tried vainly, 
to split my personality into two personalities and to pit 
one against the other. But ever I remained the one 
player, with no planned ruse or strategy on one side that 
the other side did not simultaneously apprehend. 

And time was very hea\^ and very long. I played 
games with flies, with ordinary house-flies that oozed into 
solitary as did the dim gray light ; and I learned that they 
possessed a sense of play. For instance, lying on the cell 
floor, I established an arbitrary and imaginary line along 
the wall some three feet above the floor. When they 
rested on the wall above this line they were left in peace. 
The instant they lighted on the wall below the line I tried 
to catch them. I was careful never to hurt them, and, in 
time, they knew as precisely as did I, where ran the im- 
aginary line. When they desired to play, they lighted 
below the line, and often for an hour at a time a single 
fly would engage in the sport. When it grew tired, it 
would come to rest on the safe territory above. 

Of the dozen or more flies that lived with me during that 
period, there was only one who did not care for the game. 
He refused stedfastly to play, and, having learned the pen- 



M THE STAE ROVEE 

alty of alighting below the line, very carefully avoided the 
unsafe territory. That fly was a sullen, disgruntled crea- 
ture. As the convicts would say, it had a " grouch " 
against the world. He never played with the other flies 
either. He was strong and healthy, too ; for I studied him 
long to find out. His indisposition for play was tempera- 
mental, not physical. 

Believe me, I knew all my flies. It was surprising to 
me, the multitude of differences I distinguished between 
them. Oh, each was distinctly an individual — not 
merely in size and markings, strength and speed of flight, 
and in the manner and fancy of flight and play, of dodge 
and dart, of wheel and swiftly repeat or wheel and reverse, 
of touch and go on the danger wall, or of feint the touch 
and a light elsewhere within the safety zone. They were 
likewise sharply differentiated in the minutest shades of 
mentality and temperament. 

I knew the nervous ones, the phlegmatic ones. There 
was a little undersized one that would fly into real rages, 
sometimes with me, sometimes with its fellows. Have you 
ever seen a colt or calf throw up heels and dash madly 
about the pasture from sheer excess of vitality and spirits ? 
Well, there was one fly — the keenest player of them all, 
by the way — who, when it had alighted three or four 
times in rapid succession on my taboo wall and succeeded 
each time in eluding the velvet-careful swoop of my hand, 
would grow so excited and jubilant that it would dart 
around and around my head at top speed, wheeling, veer- 
ing, reversing, and always keeping within the limits of the 
narrow circle in which it celebrated its triumph over me. 

Why, I could tell well in advance Avhen any particular 
fly was making up its mind to begin to play. There are 
a thousand details in this one matter alone that I shall not 
bore you with, although these details did serve to keep me 
from being bored too utterly during that first period in 



THE STAE KOVER 35 

solitary. But one thing I must tell you. To me it is most 
memorable — the time when the one with a grouch, who 
never played, alighted in a moment of absent-mindedness 
within the taboo precinct and was immediately captured 
in my hand. Do you know, he sulked for an hour after- 

' ward. 

And the hours were very long in solitary; nor could I 
sleep them all away; nor could I while them away with 
house-flies no matter how intelligent. For house-flies are 
house-flies, and I was a man, with a man's brain ; and my 
brain was trained and active, stuffed with culture and 
science, and always geared to a high tension of eagerness 
to do. And there was nothing to do, and my thoughts ran 
abominably on in vain speculations. There was my pen- 
tose and methyl-pentose determination in grapes and wines 
to which I had devoted my last summer vacation at the Asti 
yineyards. I had all but completed the series of experi- 
ments. Was anybody else going on with it ? I wondered ; 
and if so, with what success ? 

You see, the world was dead to me. ISTo news of it 
filtered in. The history of science was making fast, and 
I was interested in a thousand subjects. Why, there was 

, my theory of the hydrolysis of casein by trypsin, which 
Professor Walters had been carrying out in his laboratory. 
Also, Professor Schleimer had similarly been collaborating 
with me in the detection of phytosteral in mixtures of ani- 
mal and vegetable fats. The work surely was going on, 
but with what results? The very thought of all this ac- 
tivity just beyond the prison walls and in which I could 
take no part, of which I was never even to hear, was mad- 
dening. And in the meantime I lay there on my cell 
floor and played games with house-flies. 

And yet all was not silence in solitary. Early in my 
confinement I used to hear, at irregular intervals, faint 
lo\y tappings. From farther away I also heard fainter 



36 THE STAR ROVER 

and lower tappings. Continually these tappings were in- 
terrupted by the snarling of the guard. On occasion, when 
the tapping went on too persistently, extra guards were 
summoned, and I knew by the sounds that men were being 
straight] acketed. 

The matter was easy of explanation. I had known, as 
every prisoner in San Quentin knew, that the two men in 
solitary were Ed Morrell and Jake Oppenheimer. And I 
knew that these were the two men who tapped knuckle- 
talk to each other and were punished for so doing. 

That the code they used was simple I had not the 
slightest doubt, yet I devoted many hours to a vain effort 
to work it out. Heaven knows, it had to be simple, yet I 
could not make head nor tail of it. And simple it proved 
to be, when I learned it; and simplest of all proved the 
trick they employed which had so baffled me. Not only 
each day did they change the point in the alphabet where 
the code initialed, but they changed it every conversation, 
and, often, in the midst of a conversation. 

Thus, there came a day when I caught the code at the 
right initial, listened to two clear sentences of conversa- 
tion, and, the next time they talked, failed to understand a 
word. But that first time ! 

" Say — Ed — what — would — you — give — right 

— now — for — brown — papers — and — a — sack — 
of — Bull — Durham? " asked the one who tapped from 
farther away. 

I nearly cried out in my joy. Here was communica- 
tion ! Here was companionship ! I listened eagerly, and 
the nearer tapping, which I guessed must be Ed Morrell's, 
replied : 

"I — would — do — twenty — hours — straight — in 

— the — jacket — for — a — five — cent — sack — " 
Then came the snarling interruption of the guard : 
"Cut that out, Morrell!" 



THE STAK ROVER 37 

It may be thought bj the layman that the worst has 
been done to men sentenced to solitary for life, and there- 
fore that a mere guard has no way of compelling obedience 
to his order to cease tapping. But the jacket remains. 
Starvation remains. Thirst remains. Man-handling re- 
mains. Truly, a man pent in a narrow cell is very help- 
less. 

So the tapping ceased, and that night, when it was next 
resumed, I was all at sea again. By prearrangement 
they had changed the initial letter of the code. But I 
had caught the clew, and, in the matter of several days, 
occurred again the same initialment I had understood. I 
did not wait on courtesy. 

" Hello," I tapped. 

" Hello, stranger," Morrell tapped back ; and, from Op- 
penheimer, " Welcome to our city." 

They were curious to know who I was, how long I was 
condemned to solitary, and why I had been so condemned. 
[But all this I put to the side in order first to learn their 
system of changing the code initial. After I had this 
clear, w^e talked. It was a great day, for the two lifers had 
become three, although they accepted me only on probation. 
As they told me long after, they feared I might be a stool 
placed there to work a frame-up on them. It had been 
done before, to Oppenheimer, and he had paid dearly for 
the confidence he reposed in Warden Atherton's tool. 

To my surprise — yes, to my elation be it said — both 
my fellow prisoners knew me through my record as an 
incorrigible. Even into the living grave Oppenheimer 
had occupied for ten years, had my fame, or notoriety, 
rather, penetrated. 

I had much to tell them of prison happenings and of 
the outside world. The conspiracy to escape of the forty 
lifers, the search for the alleged dynamite, and all the 
treacherous frame-up of Cecil Winwood, was news to them. 



38 THE STAE ROVEK 

As they told me, news did occasionally dribble into soli- 
tary by way of the guards, but they had had nothing for a 
couple of months. The present guards on duty in soli- 
tary were a particularly bad and vindictive set. 

Again and again that day, we were cursed for our 
knuckle-talking by whatever guard was on. But we could 
not refrain. The two of the living dead had become three, 
and we had so much to say, while the manner of saying it 
was exasperatingly slow and I was not so proficient as 
they at the knuckle game. 

" Wait till Pie-Eace comes on to-night," Morrell rapped 
to me. " He sleeps most of his watch, and we can talk a 
streak." 

How we did talk that night. Sleep was farthest from 
our eyes. Pie-Face Jones was a mean and bitter man, 
despite his fatness ; but we blessed that fatness because it 
persuaded to stolen snatches of slumber. IsFevertheless our 
incessant tapping bothered his sleep and irritated him so 
that he reprimanded us repeatedly. And by the other 
night guards we were roundly cursed. In the morning all 
reported much tapping during the night, and we paid for 
our little holiday ; for, at nine, came Captain Jamie with 
several guards to lace us into the torment of the jacket. 
Until nine the following morning, for twenty-four straight 
hours, laced and helpless on the floor without food or 
water, we paid the price for speech. 

Oh, our guards were brutes. And under their treat- 
ment we had to harden to brutes in order to live. Hard 
work makes calloused hands. Hard guards make hard 
prisoners. We continued to talk, and, on occasion, to be 
jacketed for punishment. Night was the best time, and, 
when substitute guards chanced to be on, we often talked 
through a whole shift. 

Night and day were one with us who lived in the dark. 
We could sleep any time, we could knuckle-talk only; on 



THE STAR ROVER 39 

occasion. We told one another much of the history of our 
lives, and for long hours Morrell and I have lain silently, 
while steadily, with faint far taps, Oppenheimer slowly' 
spelled out his life story, from, the early years in a Sanj 
Eraneisco slum, through his gang-training, through his} 
initiation into all that was vicious when as a lad of I 
fourteen he served as night messenger in the red light dis- 
trict, through his first detected infraction of the laws, 
and on and on through thefts and robberies to the treachery' 
of a comrade and to red slayings inside prison walls. 1 

They called Jake Oppenheimer the " Human Tiger." ^ 
Some cub reporter coined the phrase that will long outlive 1 
the man to whom it was applied. And yet I ever found 'l^\ 
in Jake Oppenheimer all the cardinal traits of right hu- / 
manness. He was faithful and loyal. I know of the j 
times he has taken punishment in preference to informing \ 
on a comrade. He was brave. He was patient. He was / 
capable of self-sacrifice — I could tell a story of this, but ; 
shall not take the time. And justice, with him, was a pas- 
sion. The prison-killings done by him were due entirely 
to this extreme sense of Justice. And he had a splendid 
mind. A life-time in prison, ten years of it in solitary, 
had not dimmed his brain. 

Morrell, ever a true comrade, also had a splendid brain. 
In fact, and I who am about to die have the right to say 
it without incurring the charge of immodesty, the three 
best minds in San Quentin, from the warden down, were 
the three that rotted there together in solitary. And here 
at the end of my days, reviewing all that I have known of 
life, I am compelled to the conclusion that strong minds 
are never docile. The stupid men, the fearful men, the 
men ungifted with passionate rightness and fearless cham- 
pionship — these are the men who make model prisoners. 
I thank all gods that Jake Oppenheimer, Ed Morrell, and 
I were not model prisoners. 



CHAPTER VI 

There is more than the germ of truth in things er- 
roneous in the child's definition of memory as the thing 
one forgets with. To be able to forget means sanity. In- 
cessantly to remember means obsession, lunacy. So the 
problem I faced in solitary, where incessant remember* 
ing strove for possession of me, was the problem of for- 
getting. When I gamed with flies, or played chess with! 
myself, or talked with my knuckles, I partially forgot. 
What I desired was entirely to forget. 

There were the boyhood memories of other times and 
places — the " trailing clouds of glory " of Wordsworth. 
If a boy had had these memories, were they irretrievably 
lost when he had grown to manhood ? Could this par- 
ticular content of his boy brain be utterly eliminated? 
Or were these memories of other times and places still 
residual, asleep, immured in solitary in brain cells simi- 
larly to the way I was immured in a cell in San Quentin ? 

Solitary life-prisoners have been known to resurrect and 
look upon the sun again. Then why could not these other- 
w^orld memories of the boy resurrect ? 

But how ? In my judgment, by attainment of complete 
forgetfulness of present and of manhood past. 

And again, how ? Hypnotism should do it. If by 
hypnotism the conscious mind were put to sleep, and the 
subconscious mind awakened, then was the thing accom- 
plished, then would all the dungeon doors of the brain be 
thrown wide, then would the prisoners emerge into the 
sunshine. 

40 



THE STAR EOVER 41 

So I reasoned — with what result you shall learn. But 
first, I must tell how, as a boy, I had had these other- 
world memories. I had glowed in the clouds of glory I 
trailed from lives aforetime. Like any boy, I had been 
haunted by the other beings I had been at other times. 
This had been during my process of becoming, ere the 
flux of all that I had ever been had hardened in the mold 
of the one personality that was to be known by men for a 
few years as Darrell Standing. 

Let me narrate just one incident. It was up in Min- 
nesota on the old farm. I was nearly six years old. A 
missionary to China, returned to the United States and 
sent out by the Board of Missions to raise funds from the 
farmers, spent the night in our house. It was in the 
kitchen just after supper, as my mother was helping me 
undress for bed, and the missionary was showing photo- 
graphs of the Holy Land. 

And what I am about to tell you, I should long since 
have forgotten, had I not heard my father recite it to 
wondering listeners so many times during my childhood. 

I cried out at sight of one of the photographs and looked 
at it, first with eagerness, and then with disappointment. 
It had seemed of a sudden most familiar, in much the same 
way that my father's bam would have been in a photo- 
graph. Then it had seemed altogether strange. But as 
I continued to look, the haunting sense of familiarity came 
back. 

" The Tower of David," the missionary said to my 
mother. 

" ISTo ! " I cried with great positiveness. 

*' You mean that isn't its name ? " the missionary asked. 

I nodded. 

" Then what is its name, my boy ? " 

" Its name is ..." I began, then concluded lamely, 
" I forget. 



^2 THE STAE EOVER 

*' It don't look the same now," I went on after a pause. 
*' They've ben fixin' it up awful." 

Here, the missionary handed to my mother another 
photograph he had sought out. 

" I was there myself six months ago, Mrs. Standing.'* 
He pointed with his finger. " That is the Jaffa Gate 
where I walked in and right up to the Tower of David in 
the back of the picture where my finger is now. The 
authorities are pretty well agreed on such matters. El 
Kul'ah, as it was known by — " 

But here I broke in again, pointing to rubbish piles of 
ruined masonry on the left edge of the photograph. 

" Over there somewhere," I said. " That name youL 
just spoke was what the Jews called it. But we called it 
something else. We called it ... I forget." 

" Listen to the youngster," my father chuckled. 
*' You'd think he'd ben there." 

I nodded my head, for in that moment I knew I had 
been there, though all seemed strangely different. My 
father laughed the harder, but the missionary thought I 
was making game of him. He handed me another photo- 
graph. It was just a bleak waste of a landscape, barren, 
of trees and vegetation, a shallow canyon with easy-sloping 
walls of rubble. In the middle distance was a cluster of 
wretched, flat-roofed hovels. 

" 'Now, my boy, where is that ? " the missionary quizzed. 

And the name came to me ! 

" Samaria," I said instantly. 

My father clapped his hands with glee, my mother was 
perplexed at my antic conduct, while the missionary 
evinced irritation. 

" The boy is right," he said. " It is a village in 
Samaria. I passed through it. That is why I bought 
it. And it goes to show that the boy has seen similar 
photographs before." 



THE STAE EOVER 4^ 

This my father and mother denied. 

" But it's different in the picture," I volunteered, while 
all the time my memory was busy reconstructing the pho- 
tograph. The general trend of the landscape and the line 
of the distant hills were the same. The differences I noted 
aloud and pointed out with my finger. 

" The houses was about right here, and there was mor© 
trees, lots of trees, and lots of grass, and lots of goats. 
I can see 'em now, an' two boys drivin' 'em. An' right 
here is a lot of men walkin' behind one man. An' over 
there " — I pointed to where I had placed my village — 
" is a lot of tramps. They ain't got nothin' on exceptin' 
rags. An' they're sick. Their faces, an' hands, an' legs is- 
all sores." 

" He's heard the story in church or somewhere — you 
remember, the healing of the lepers, in Luke," the mission- 
ary said with a smile of satisfaction. " How many sick 
tramps are there, my boy ? " 

I had learned to count to a hundred when I was five 
years old, so I went over the group carefully and an- 
nounced : — 

" Ten of 'em. They're all wavin' their arms an' yellin^ 
at the other men." 

" But they don't come near them ? " was the query. 

I shook my head. " They just stand right there an* 
keep a-yellin' like they was in trouble." 

" Go on," urged the missionary. " What next ? 
What's the man doing in the front of the other crowd you 
said was walking along ? " 

" They've all stopped, an' he's sayin' something to the 
sick men. An' the boys with the goats 's stopped to look. 
Everybody's lookin'." 

" And then ? " 

" That's all. The sick men are headin' for the houses. 
They ain't yellin' any more, an' they don't look sick anj 



44: THE STAR EOVER 

more. An' I just keep settin' on my horse a-lookin' on." 

At this all three of my listeners broke into laughter. 

" An' I'm a big man ! " I cried out angrily. " An' I 
got a big sword ! " 

" The ten lepers Christ healed before he passed through 
Jericho on his way to Jerusalem," the missionary ex- 
pla.ined to my parents. " The boy has seen slides of fa- 
mous paintings in some magic lantern exhibition." 

But neither father nor mother could remember that I 
had ever seen a magic lantern. 

*' Try him with another picture," father suggested. 

" It's all different," I complained as I studied the pho- 
tograph the missionary handed me. " Ain't nothin' here 
except that hill and them other hills. This ought to be a 
county road along here. An' over there ought to be gar- 
dens, an' trees, an' houses behind big stone walls. An' over 
there, on the other side, in holes in the rocks ought to be 
where they buried dead folks. — You see this place ? — 
they used to throw stones at people there until they killed 
'em. I never seen 'em do it. They just told me about 
it." 

" And the hill ? " the missionary asked, pointing to the 
central part of the print, for which the photograph seemed 
to have been taken. " Can you tell us the name of the 
hill ? " 

I shook my head. 

"Never had no name. They killed folks there. I'c^e 
seen 'm more 'n once." 

" This time he agrees with the majority of the authori- 
ties," announced the missionary with huge satisfaction. 
" The hill is Golgotha, the Place of Skulls, or, as you 
please, so named because it resembles a skull. Kotice the 
resemblance. That is where they crucified — " He broke 
off and turned to me. " Whom did they crucify there, 
young scholar ? Tell us what else you see." 



THE STAK EOVER 45 

Oh, I saw — my father reported that my eyes were 
bulging ; but I shook my head stubbornly and said : 

" I ain't a-goin' to tell you because you're laughin' at 
me. I seen lots an' lots of men killed there. They nailed 
'em up, an' it took a long time. I seen — but I ain't 
a-goin' to tell. I don't tell lies. You ask dad an' ma if I 
tell lies. He'd whale the stuffin' out of me if I did. 
Ask 'm." 

And thereat not another word could the missionary get 
from me, even though he baited me with more photographs 
that sent my head whirling with a rush of memory-pic- 
tures and that urged and tickled my tongue with spates of 
speech which I sullenly resisted and overcame. 

" He will certainly make a good bible scholar," the mis- 
sionary told father and mother after I had kissed them 
good night and departed for bed. " Or else, with that 
imagination, he'll become a successful fiction-writer." 

Which shows how prophecy can go agley. I sit here in 
Murderers' Eow, writing these lines in my last days, or, 
rather, in Darrell Standing's last days ere they take him 
out and try to thrust him into the dark at the end of a rope, 
and I smile to myself. I became neither bible scholar nor 
novelist. On the contrary, until they buried me in the 
cells of silence for half a decade, I was everything that 
the missionary forecasted not — an agricultural expert, a 
professor of agronomy, a specialist in the science of the 
elimination of waste motion, a master of farm efficiency, a 
precise laboratory scientist where precision and adherence 
to microscopic fact are absolute requirements. 

And I sit here in the warm afternoon, in Murderers' 
Eow, and cease from the Avriting of my memoirs to listen 
to the soothing buzz of flics in the drowsy air, and catch 
phrases of a low-voiced conversation between Josephus 
Jackson, the negro murderer on my right, and Bambeccio, 
the Italian murderer on my left, who are discussing, 



"46 THE STAE ROVER 

through grated door to grated door, back and forth past my 
grated door, the antiseptic virtues and excellences of chew- 
ing tobacco for flesh wounds. 

And in my suspended hand I hold my fountain pen, and 
as I remember that other har'is of me, in long gone ages, 
"wielded ink-brush, and quill, and stylus, I also find 
thought-space in time to wonder if that missionary, when 
he was a little lad, ever trailed clouds of glory and 
glimpsed the brightness of old star-roving days. 

Well, back to solitary, after I had learned the code of 
knuckle-talk and still found the hours of consciousness too 
long to endure. By self-hypnosis, which I began success- 
fully to practice, I became able to put my conscious mind 
to sleep and to awaken and loose my subconscious mind. 
iBut the latter was an undisciplined and lawless thing. It 
•wandered through all nightmarish madness, without co- 

iherence, without continuity of scene, event, or person. 

' My method of mechanical hypnosis was the soul of sim- 
plicity. Sitting with folded legs on my straw-mattress, 
I gazed fixedly at a fragment of bright straw which I had 
attached to the wall of my cell near the door where the 
most light was. I gazed at the bright point, with my 
eyes close to it and tilted upward till they strained to see. 
At the same time I relaxed all the will of me and gave 
myself to the swaying dizziness that always eventually 
came to me. And when I felt myself sway out of balance 
backward, I closed my eyes and permitted myself to fall 
supine and unconscious on the mattress. 

And then, for haK an hour, ten minutes, or as long as 

an hour or so, I would wander erratically and foolishly 

\ through the stored memories of my eternal recurrence on 

\ earth. But times and places shifted too swiftly. I knew 
Jafterward, when I awoke, that I, Darrell Standing, was the 

1 linking personality that connected all biza^reness and 



THE STAE EOVEE 47 

grofesqueness. But that was all. I could never live out 
completely one full experience, one point of consciousness 
in time and space. My dreams, if dreams they may be 
called, -were rhymeless and reasonless. 

Thus, as a sample of my rovings : In a single interval 
of fifteen minutes of subconsciousness, I have crawled and 
bellowed in the slime of the primeval world and sat be- 
side Haasfurther and cleaved the twentieth century 
air in a gas-driven monoplane. Awake, I remembered 
that I, Darrell Standing, in the flesh, during the year 
preceding my incarceration in San Quentin, had flown witK 
Haasfurther over the Pacific at Santa Monica. Awake, I' 
did not remember the crawling and the bellowing in the 
ancient slime. Nevertheless, awake, I reasoned that some- 
how I had remembered that early adventure in the slime, 
and that it was a verity of long-previous experience, when 
I was not yet Darrell Standing but somebody else, or some- 
thing else that crawled and bellowed. One experience was 
merely more remote than the other. Both experiences 
were equally real — or else how did I remember them ? 

Oh, what a fluttering of luminous images and actions! 
In a few short minutes of loosed subconsciousness, I have 
sat in the halls of kings, above the salt and below the salt, 
been fool and jester, man-at-arms, clerk and monk; and I 
have been ruler above all at the head of the table — tem- 
poral power in my own sword arm, in the thickness of my 
castle walls, and the numbers of my flushing men ; spiritual 
power likewise mine by token of the fact that cowled priests 
and fat abbots sat beneath me and swigged my wine and 
swined my meat. — ^^ 

I have worn the iron collar of the serf about my neclfe^H^ 
cold climes ; and I have loved princesses of royal houses in 
the tropic-warmed and sun-scented night, where black: 
slaves fanned the sultry air with fans of peacock plumes, 
while from afar, across the palms and fountains, drifted 



48 THE STAR EOVER 

the roaring of lions and the cries of jackals. I have 
crouched in chill desert places warming my hands at fires 
builded of camel's dung; and I have lain in the meager 
shade of sun-parched sagebrush by dry water-holes and 
yearned dry-tongued for water, while about me, dismem- 
bered and scattered in the alkali, were the bones of men 
and beasts who had yearned and died. 

I have been sea-cunie and bravo, scholar and recluse. I 
have pored over hand-written pages of huge and musty 
tomes in the scholastic quietude and twilight of cliff- 
perched monasteries, while beneath, on the lesser slopes, 
peasants still toiled beyond the end of day among the vines 
and olives and drove in from pastures the blatting goats 
and lowing kine ; yes, and I have led shouting rabbles down 
the wheel-worn, chariot-rutted paves of ancient and for- 
gotten cities; and, solemn-voiced and grave as death, I 
have enunciated the law, stated the gravity of the infrac- 
tion, and imposed the due death on men, who, like Darrell 
Standing in Folsom Prison, had broken the law. 

Aloft, at giddy mast-heads oscillating above the decks of 
ships, I have gazed on sun-flashed water where coral- 
growths iridesced from profounds of turquoise deeps, and 
conned the ships in to the safety of mirrored lagoons where 
the anchors rumbled down close to palm-fronded beaches of 
sea-pounded coral rock; and I have striven on forgotten 
battle-fields of the elder days, when the sun went down on 
slaughter that did not cease and that continued through the 
night-hours with the stars shining down and with a cool 
night wind blowing from distant peaks of snow that failed 
to chill the sweat of battle; and again, I have been little 
Darrell Standing, bare-footed in the dew-lush grass of 
spring on the Minnesota farm, chilblained when of frosty 
mornings I fed the cattle in their breath-steaming stalls, 
sobered to fear and awe of the splendor and terror of God 



THE STAE ROVER 49 

when I sat of Sundays under the rant and preachment of 
the New Jerusalem and the agonies of hell-fire. 

]S[ow, the foregoing were the glimpses and glimmerings 
that came to me when, in Cell One of Solitary in San 
Quentin, I stared myself unconscious by means of a par- 
ticle of bright, light-radiating straw. How did these 
things come to me? Surely I could not have manufac- 
tured them out of nothing inside my pent walls any more 
than could I have manufactured out of nothing the thirty- 
five pounds of d^mamite so ruthlessly demanded of me by 
Captain Jamie, Warden Atherton, and the Prison Board 
of Directors. 

I am Darrell Standing, born and raised on a quarter sec- 
tion of land in Minnesota, erstwhile professor of agron- 
omy, a prison incorrigible in San Quentin, and at present 
a death-sentenced man in Folsom. I do not know, of 
Darrell Standing's experience, these things of which I write 
and which I have dug from out my store-houses of subcon- 
sciousness. I, Darrell Standing, bom in Minnesota and 
soon to die by the rope in California, surely never loved 
daughters of kings in the courts of kings ; nor fought cut- 
lass to cutlass on the swaying decks of ships ; nor drowned 
in the spirit-rooms of ships, guzzling raw liquor to the 
wassail-shouting and death-singing of seamen, while the 
ship lifted and crashed on the black-toothed rocks and the 
water bubbled overhead, beneath, and all about. 

Such things are not of Darrell Standing's experience in 
the world. Yet I, Darrell Standing, found these things 
within myself in solitary in San Quentin by means of 
mechanical self-hypnosis. No more were these experi- 
ences Darrell Standing's, than was the word " Samaria '^ 
Darrell Standing's when it leapt to his child lips at sight 
of a photograph. 

One cannot make anything out of nothing. In solitary 



50 THE STAE ROVER 

I could not so make thirty-five pounds of dynamite. 'Not 
in solitary, out of nothing in Darrell Standing's experi- 
ence, could I make these wide, far visions of time and 
space. These things were in the content of my mind, and 
in my mind I was just beginning to learn my way about. 



CHAPTER VII 

So here was my predicament : I knew that within my- 
self was a Golconda of memories of other lives, yet I was 
unable to do more that flit like a madman through those 
memories. I had my Golconda but could not mine it, 

I remembered the case of Stainton Moses, the clergy- 
man who had been possessed by the personalities of St. 
Hippolytus, Plotinus, Athenodorus, and of that friend of 
Erasmus named Grocyn. And, when I considered the ex- 
periments of Colonel de Eochas, which I had read in tyro 
fashion in other and busier days, I was convinced that 
Stainton Moses had, in previous lives, been those per- 
sonalities that on occasion seemed to possess him. In 
truth, they were he, they were the links of the chain of 
recurrence. 

But more especially did I dwell upon the experiments of 
Colonel de Eochas. By means of suitable hypnotic sub- 
jects he claimed that he had penetrated backward through 
time to the ancestors of his subjects. Thus, the case of 
Josephine which he describes. She was eighteen years old 
and she lived at Voiron, the department of the Isere. Un- 
der hypnotism. Colonel de Eochas sent her adventuring 
back through her adolescence, her girlhood, her childhood, 
her breast-infancy, and the silent dark of her mother's 
womb, and, still back, through the silence and the dark of 
the time when she, Josephine, was not yet bom, to the 
light and life of a previous living, when she had been a 
churlish, suspicious, and embittered old man, by name, 
Jean-Claude Bourdon, who had served his time in the 

Seventh Artillery at Besancon, and who died at the age of 

51 



w 



>:^ 



52 THE STAR ROVER 

seventy, long bed-ridden. Yes, and did not Colonel de 
Rochas in turn hypnotize this shade of Jean-Claude 
Bourdon, so that he adventured farther back into time, 
through infancy and birth and the dark of the unborn, 
until he found again light and life when as a Avicked old 
"woman, he had been Philomene Carteron ? 

But try as I would with my bright bit of straw in the 
oozement of light into solitary, I failed to achieve any such 
defiuiteness of previous personality. I became convinced, 
through the failure of my experiments, that only through 
death could I clearly and coherently resurrect the memo- 
ries of my previous selves. 

n But the tides of life ran strong in me. I, Darrell Stand- 
Zing, was so strongly disinclined to die that I refused to 
let Warden Atherton and Captain Jamie kill me. I was 
always so innately urged to live that sometimes I think 
that is why I am still here, eating and sleeping, thinking 
and dreaming, writing this narrative of my various me's, 
■ and awaiting the incontestible rope that will put an 
jephemeral period in my long-linked existence. 

And then came death in life. I learned the trick. Ed 
Morrell taught it me, as you shall see. It began through 
Warden Atherton and Captain Jamie. They must have 
experienced a recrudescence of panic at thought of the 
dynamite they believed hidden. The}' came to me in my 
dark cell, and they told me plainly that they would jacket 
me to death if I did not confess where the dynamite was 
hidden. And they assured me that they would do it offi- 
cially without any hurt to their own official skins. My 
death would appear on the prison register as due to natural 
causes. 

/ Oh, dear, cotton-wool citizen, please believe me when I 
tell you that men are killed in prisons to-day as they have 
always been killed since the first prisons were built by 
J men. 



THE STAE EOVER 53 

I well knew the terror, the agony, and the danger of the 
jacket. Oh, the men spirit-broken by the jacket ! I have 
seen them. And I have seen men crippled for life by the 
jacket. I have seen men, strong men, men so strong that 
their physical stamina resisted all attacks of prison tuber- 
culosis, after a prolonged bout with the jacket, their resist- 
ance broken down, fade away and die of tuberculosis within 
six months. There was Slant-Eyed Wilson, with an un- 
guessed weak heart of fear, who died in the jacket within 
the first hour while the unconvinced inefficient of a prison 
doctor looked on and smiled. And I have seen a man 
confess, after half an hour in the jacket, truths and fic- 
tions that cost him years of credits. 

I had had my own experiences. At the present mo- 
ment half a thousand scars mark my body. They go to 
the scaffold with me. Did I live a hundred years to come, 
those same scars in the end would go to the grave with me. 

Perhaps, dear citizen who permits and pays his hang- 
dogs to lace the jacket for you — perhaps you are un- 
acquainted with the jacket. Let me describe it, so that 
you will understand the method by which I achieved death 
in life, became a temporary master of time and space, and 
vaulted the prison walls to rove among the stars. 

Have you ever seen canvas tarpaulins or rubber blankets 
with brass eyelets set in along the edges ? Then imagine a 
piece of stout canvas, some four and one-half feet in length, 
with large and heavy brass eyelets running do^Ti both 
edges. The width of this canvas is never the full girth 
of the human body it is to surround. The width is also 
irregular — broadest at the shoulders, next broadest at the 
hips, and narrowest at the waist. 

The jacket is spread on the floor. The man who is to 
be punished, or who is to be tortured for confession, is 
told to lie face-downward on the flat canvas. If ho re- 
fuses, he is man-handled. After that he lays himself 



M THE STAE KOVER 

down "with a will, which is the will of the hang-dogs, whicH 
is your will, dear citizen, who feeds and fees the hang- 
dogs for doing this thing for you. 

The man lies face-downward. The edges of the jacket 
are brought as nearly together as possible along the center 
of the man's back. Then a rope, on the principle of a shoe- 
lace, is run through the eyelets, and on the principle of a 
shoe-lacing the man is laced in the canvas. Only he is 
laced more severely than any person ever laces his shoe. 
They call it " cinching " in prison lingo. On occasion, 
when the guards are cruel and vindictive or when the com- 
mand has come down from above, in order to insure the 
severity of the lacing the guards press with their feet into 
the man's back as they draw the lacing tight. 

Have you ever laced your shoe too tightly, and, after 
half an hour, experienced that excruciating pain across the 
instep of the obstructed circulation ? And do you remem- 
ber that after a few minutes of such pain you simply could 
not walk another step and had to untie the shoe-lace and 
ease the pressure ? Very well. Then try to imagine your 
whole body so laced, only much more tightly, and that the 
squeeze, instead of being merely on the instep of one foot, 
is on your entire trunk, compressing to the seeming of 
death your heart, your lungs, and all the rest of your vital 
and essential organs. 

I remember the first time they gave me the jacket down 
in the dungeons. It was at the beginning of my in- 
corrigibility, shortly after my entrance to prison, when I 
was weaving my loom-task of a hundred yards a day in the 
jute mill and finishing two hours ahead of the average 
day. Yes, and my jute-sacking was far above the average 
demanded. I was sent to the jacket that first time, ac- 
cording to the prison books, because of " skips " and 
" breaks " in the cloth, in short, because my work was de- 



THE STAE EOVER '65 

fective. Of course, this was ridiculous. In truth, I was 
sent to the jacket because I, a new convict, a master of 
efficiency, a trained expert in the elimination of waste mo- 
tion, had elected to tell the stupid head weaver a few things 
he did not know about his business. And the head weaver, 
with Captain Jamie present, had me called to the table 
where atrocious weaving, such as could never have gone 
through my loom, was exhibited against me. Three times 
was I thus called to the table. The third calling meant 
punishment according to the loom-room rules. My pun- 
ishment was twenty-four hours in the jacket. 

They took me down into the dungeon. I was ordered to 
lie face-downward on the canvas spread flat upon the floor. 
I refused. One of the guards, Morrison, gulleted me with 
his thumbs. Mobins, the dungeon trusty, a convict him- 
self, struck me repeatedly with his fists. In the end I lay 
down as directed. And, because of the struggle I had 
vexed them with, they laced me extra tight. Then they 
rolled me over like a log upon my back. 

It did not seem so bad at first. When they closed my 
door, with clang and clash of levered boltage, and left me 
in the utter dark, it was eleven o'clock in the morning. 
Eor a few minutes I was aware merely of an uncom- 
fortable constriction which I fondly believed would ease 
as I grew accustomed to it. On the contrary, my heart 
began to thump and my lungs seemed unable to draw suffi- 
cient air for my blood. This sense of suffocation was ter- 
rorizing, and every thump of the heart threatened to burst 
my already bursting lungs. 

After what seemed hours, and after what, out of my 
countless succeeding experiences in the jacket I can now 
fairly conclude to have been not more than half an hour, 
I began to cry out, to yell, to scream, to howl, in a very 
madness of dying. The trouble was the pain that had 



56 THE STAR ROVER 

arisen in my heart. It was a sharp, definite pain, similar 
to that of pleurisy, except that it stabbed hotly through the 
heart itself. 

To die is not a difficult thing, but to die in such slow 
and horrible fashion was maddening. Like a trapped 
beast of the wild, I experienced ecstasies of fear, and yelled 
and howled until I realized that such vocal exercise merely 
stabbed my heart more hotly and at the same time con- 
sumed much of the little air in my lungs. 

I gave over and lay quiet for a long time — an eternity 
it seemed then, though now I am confident that it could 
have been no longer than a quarter of an hour. I grew 
dizzy with semi-asphyxiation, and my heart thumped un- 
til it seemed surely it would burst the canvas that bound 
me. Again I lost control of myself and set up a mad 
howling for help. 

In the midst of this I heard a voice from the next 
dungeon. 

" Shut up," it shouted, though only faintly it percolated 
to me. " Shut up. You make me tired." 

" I'm dying," I cried out. 

" Pound your ear and forget it," was the reply. 

" But I am dying," I insisted. 

" Then why worry ? " came the voice. " You'll be dead 
pretty quick an' out of it. Go ahead and croak, but don't 
make so much noise about it. You're interruptin' my 
beauty sleep." 

So angered was I by this callous indifference, that I re- 
covered self-control and was guilty of no more than 
smothered groans. This endured an endless time — possi- 
bly ten minutes ; and then a tingling numbness set up in 
all my body. It was like pins and needles, and for as 
long as it hurt like pins and needles I kept my head. But 
when the prickling of the multitudinous darts ceased to 
hurt and only the numbness remained and continued verg- 



THE STAE EOVER 57 

ing into greater numbness, I once more grew frightened. I 

" How am I goin' to get a wink of sleep ? " my neighbor 
complained. " I ain't any more happy than you. My 
jacket's just as tight as yourn, an' I want to sleep an' 
forget it." 

" How long have you been in ? " I asked, thinking him 
a new-comer compared to the centuries I had already suf- 
fered. 

" Since day before yesterday," was his answer. 

" I mean in the jacket," I amended. 

" Since day before yesterday, brother." 

" My God ! " I screamed. 

" Yes, brother, fifty straight hours, an' you don't hear 
me raisin' a roar about it. They cinched me with their 
feet in my back. I am some tight, believe me. You ain't 
the only one that's got troubles. You ain't ben in an hour 

yet." 

" I've been in hours and hours," I protested. 

" Brother, you may think so, but it don't make it so. 
I'm just tellin' you you ain't ben in an hour. I heard 
'm lacin' you." 

The thing was incredible. Already, in less than an I 
hour, I had died a thousand deaths. And yet this neigh- V 
bor, balanced and equable, calm-voiced and almost benefi- * 
cent despite the harshness of his first remarks, had been 
in the jacket fifty hours! 

" How much longer are they going to keep you in ? " 
I asked. 

" The Lord only knows. Captain Jamie is real peeved 
with me, an' he won't let me out until I'm about croakin'. 
[N"ow, brother, I'm goin' to give you the tip. The only 
way is shut your face an' forget it. Yellin' an' hollerin' 
don't win you no money in this joint. An' the way to for- 
get is to forget. Just get to rememberin' every girl you 
ever knew. That'll eat up hours for you. Mebbe you'll 



58 THE STAR EOVER 

feel yourself gettin' woozy. Well, get woozy. You can't 
beat that for killin' time. An' when the girls won't hold 
you, get to thinkin' of the fellows you got it in for, an' 
what you'd do to 'em if you got a chance, an' what you're 
goin' to do to 'em when you get that same chance." 

That man was Philadelphia Eed. Because of prior con- 
viction he was serving fifty years for highway robbery 
committed on the streets of Alameda. He had already 
served a dozen of his years at the time he talked to me in 
the jacket, and that was seven years ago. He was one of 
the forty lifers who, a little later, were double-crossed by 
Cecil Winwood. Eor thut offense, Philadelphia Eed lost 
his credits. He is middle-aged now, and he is still in 
San Quentin. If he survives he will be an old man when 
they let him out. 

I lived through my twenty-four hours, and I have never 
been the same man since. Oh, I don't mean physically, al- 
though next morning, when they unlaced me, I was semi- 
paralyzed and in such a state of collapse that the guards 
had to kick me in the ribs to make me crawl to my feet.; 
put I was a changed man mentally, morally. The brute 
[physical torture of it was humiliation and affront to my 
I spirit and to my sense of justice. Such discipline does 
Inot sweeten a man. I emerged from that first jacketing 
jfilled with a bitterness and a passionate hatred that has 
( only increased through the years. My God ! — when I 
think of the things men have done to me! Twenty-four 
hours in the jacket! Little I thought that morning when 
they kicked me to my feet that the time would come when 
twenty-four hours in the jacket meant nothing; when a 
hundred hours in the jacket found me smiling when they 
released me; when two hundred and forty hours in the 
jacket found the same smile on my lips. 

J Yes, two hundred and forty hours. Dear cotton-woolly 
'^tizen, do you know what that means ? It means ten days 



THE STAR EOVER 58 

and ten nights in the jacket. Of course, such things are 
not done anywhere in the Christian world nineteen hun- 
dred years after Christ. I don't ask you to believe me. 
I don't believe it myself. I merely know that it was done 
to me in San Quentin, and that I lived to laugh at them 
and to compel them to get rid of me by swinging me off be- 
cause I bloodied a guard's nose. i 

I write these lines to-day in the Year of Our Lord 1913, 
and to-day, in the Year of Our Lord 1913, men are lying 
in the jacket in the dungeons of San Quentin. I 

I shall never forget, as long as further living and further 
lives be vouchsafed me, my parting from Philadelphia Eed 
that morning. He had then been seventy-four hours in 
the jacket. ' 

" Well, brother, you're still alive an' kickin','' he called 
to me, as I was totteringly dragged from my cell into the 
corridor of dungeons. 

" Shut up, you, Eed," the sergeant snarled at him. 

*' Forget it," was the retort. 

*' I'll get you yet, Eed," the sergeant threatened, 

" Think so ? " Philadelphia Eed queried sweetly, ere EiS 
tones turned to savageness. " Why, you old stiff, you 
couldn't get nothin'. You couldn't get a free lunch, much 
less the job you've got now, if it wasn't for your brother's 
pull. An' I guess we all ain't mistaken on the stink of the 
place where your brother's pull comes from." 

It was admirable — the spirit of man rising above its^ 
extremity, fearless of the hurt any brute of the systemf^ 
could inflict. 

" Well, so long, brother," Philadelphia Eed next called 
to me. " So long. Be good, an' love the warden. An' 
if you see 'em, just tell 'em that you saw me but that you 
didn't see me saw." 

The sergeant was red with rage, and, by the receipt of 
various kicks and blows, I paid for Eed's pleasantry. 



CHAPTEK yni 

I 

In solitary, in Cell One, Warden Atherton and Captain 
Jamie proceeded to put me to the inquisition. As Warden 
Atherton said to me: 

" Standing, you're going to come across with that dyna- 
mite, or I'll kill you in the jacket. Harder cases than you 
have come across before I got done with them. You've 
got your choice — dynamite or curtains." 

" Then I guess it is curtains," I answered, " because I 
don't know of any dynamite." 

This irritated the warden to immediate action. 

" Lie down," he commanded. 

I obeyed, for I had learned the folly of fighting three 
or four strong men. They laced me tightly, and gave me 
a hundred hours. Once each twenty-four hours, I was 
permitted a drink of water. I had no desire for food, nor 
was food offered me. Toward the end of the hundred 
hours, Jackson, the prison doctor, examined my physical 
condition several times. 

But I had grown too used to the jacket during my in- 
corrigible days to let a single jacketing injure me. 
Naturally, it weakened me, took the life out of me ; but I 
had learned muscular tricks for stealing a little space while 
they were lacing me. At the end of the first hundred- 
hours bout, I was worn and tired, but that was all. An- 
other bout of this duration they gave me, after a day and 
a night to recuperate. And then they gave one hundred 
and fifty hours. Much of this time I was physically numb 
and mentally delirious. Also, by an effort of will, I man- 
aged to sleep away long hours. 

60 



THE STAR EOVER 61 

INext, Warden Atherton tried a variation. I was given 
irregular intervals of jacket and recuperation. I never 
knew when I was to go into the jacket. Thus, I would 
have ten hours recuperation, and do twenty in the jacket; 
or I would receive only four hours rest. At the most un- 
expected hours of the night, my door would clang open 
and the changing guards would lace me. Sometimes 
rhythms were instituted. Thus, for three days and nights 
I alternated eight hours in the jacket and eight hours out. 
And then, just as I was growing accustomed to this 
rhythm, it was suddenly altered and I was given two days 
and nights straight. 

And ever the eternal question was propounded to me; 
Where was the dynamite? Sometimes Warden Atherton 
was furious with me. On occasion, when I had endured 
an extra severe jacketing, he almost pleaded with me to 
confess. Once he even promised me three months in the 
hospital of ahsolute rest and good food, and then the trusty; 
job in the library. 

Dr. Jackson, a weak stick of a creature with a smatter- 
ing of medicine, grew skeptical. He insisted that jacket- 
ing, no matter how prolonged, could never kill me ; and his 
insistence was a challenge to the warden to continue the 
attempt. 

" These lean college guys'd fool the devil," he grumbled. 
" They're tougher'n rawhide. Just the same we'll wear 
him down. Standing, you hear me. What you've got 
ain't a caution to what you're going to get You might 
as well come across now and save trouble. I'm a man of 
my word. You've heard me say dynamite or curtains. 
Well, that stands. Take your choice." 

" Surely, you don't think I'm holding out beciause I 
enjoy it ? " I managed to gasp, for at the moment Pie- 
Face Jones was forcing his foot into my back in order to 
cinch me tighter while I was trying with my muscles to 



g2 THE STAR ROVER 

steal slack. " There is nothing to confess. Why, I'd 
cut off my right hand right now to be able to lead you to 
any dynamite." 

" Oh, I've seen your educated kind before," he sneered. 
'* You get wheels in your head, some of you, that make you 
stick to any old idea. You get balky like horses. — : 
Tighter, Jones ; that ain't half a cinch. — Standing, if you 
don't come across it's curtains. I stick by that." 

One compensation I learned. As one grows weaker one 
is less susceptible to suffering. There is less hurt because 
there is less to hurt. And the man already well weakened 
grows weaker more slowly. It is of common knowledge 
that unusually strong men suffer more severely from 
ordinary sicknesses than do women or invalids. As the re- 
serves of strength are consumed, there is less strength to 
lose. After all superfluous flesh is gone, what is left is 
stringy and resistant. In fact, that was what I became — 
a sort of string-like organism that persisted in living. 

Morrell and Oppenheimer were sorry for me, and rapped 
me sympathy and advice. Oppenheimer told me he had 
gone through it, and worse, and still lived. 

" Don't let them beat you out," he spelled with his 
tnuckles. " Don't let them kill you, for that would suit 
them. And don't squeal on the plant." 

" But there isn't any plant," I rapped back with the 
edge of the sole of my shoe against the grating — I was in 
the jacket at the time and so could talk only with my feet. 
" I don't know anything about the damned dynamite." 

" That's right," Oppenheimer praised. " He's the 
stuff, ain't he, Ed ? " 

Which goes to show what chance I had of convincing 
Warden Atherton of my ignorance of the dynamite. His 
yery persistence in the quest convinced a man like Jake 
(Oppenheimer, who could only admire me for the fortitude 
jvith which I kept a close mouth. 



THE STAK EOVER ;63 

During this first period of the jacket-inquisition, I man- 
aged to sleep a great deal. My dreams were remarkable. 
Of course they were vivid and real as most dreams are* 
.What made them remarkable was their coherence and con- 
tinuity. Often I addressed bodies of scientists on obstruse 
subjects, reading aloud to them carefully prepared papers 
on my own researches or on my own deductions from 
the researches and experiments of others. When I 
awakened my voice would seem still ringing in my ears, 
while my eyes still could see typed on the white paper 
whole sentences and paragraphs that I could read again 
and marvel at ere the vision faded. In passing, I call 
attention to the fact that at the time I noted that the proc- 
ess of reasoning employed in these dream speeches was in-* 
variably deductive. I 

Then there was a great farming section, extending nortH 
and south for hundreds of miles in some part of the tem- 
perate regions, with a climate and flora and fauna largely; 
resembling those of California. ISTot once, nor twice, but 
thousands of different times I journeyed through this 
dream-region. The point I desire to call attention to was 
that it was always the same region. 'No essential feature 
of it ever differed in the different dreams. Thus, it was 
always an eight-hour drive behind mountain horses froni 
the alfalfa meadows (where I kept many Jersey cows)] 
to the straggly village beside the big dry creek, where I 
caught the little narrow-gauge train. Every land-mark in , 
that eight-hour drive in the mountain buckboard, every ^ 
tree, every mountain, every ford and bridge, every ridge 
and eroded hillside was ever the same. 

In this coherent, rational farm-region of my straight- 
jacket dreams, the minor details, according to season and 
to the labor of men, did change. Thus, on the upland 
pastures behind my alfalfa meadows, I developed a new* 
farm with the aid of Angora goats. Here, I marked the 



m THE STAE EOVER 

ciianges "witli every dream-visit, and the clianges were in 
accordance with the time that elapsed between visits. 
I Oh, those brush-covered slopes! How I can see them 
now just as when the goats were first introduced. And 
how I remembered the consequent changes — the paths 
beginning to form as the goats literally ate their way 
through the dense thickets; the disappearance of the 
younger, smaller bushes that were not too tall for total 
browsing ; the vistas that formed in all directions through 
the older, taller bushes, as the goats browsed as high as 
they could stand and reach on their hind legs ; the driftage 
of the pasture grasses that followed in the wake of the 
clearing by the goats. Yes, the continuity of such dream- 
ing was its charm. Came the day when the men with axes 
chopped down all the taller brush so as to give the goats 
access to the leaves and buds and bark. Came the day, in 
winter weather, when the dry denuded skeletons of all these 
bushes were gathered into heaps and burned. Came the 
day when I moved my goats on to other brush-impregnable 
hillsides, with following in their wake my cattle, pastur- 
ing knee-deep in the succulent grasses that grew where be- 
fore had been only brush. And came the day when I 
moved my cattle on, and my plowmen went back and f ortK 
across the slopes contour-plowing the rich sod under to rot 
to live and crawling humus in which to bed my seeds of 
crops to be. 

Yes, and in my dreams, often, I stepped off the little 
narrow-gauge train where the straggly village stood beside 
the big dry creek, and got into the buckboard behind my 
mountain horses, and drove hour by hour past all the old 
familiar landmarks to my alfalfa meadows, and on to my 
Tipland pastures where my rotated crops of com and barley 
and clover were ripe for harvesting and where I watched 
my men engaged in the harvest, while beyond, ever climb- 



ing, mj goats browsed the higher slopes of brush into 
cleared, tilled fields. 

But these were dreams, frank dreams, fancied adven- 
tures of my deductive subconscious mind. Quite unlike 
them, as you shall see, were my other adventures when I 
passed through the gates of the living death and relived 
the reality of the other lives that had been mine in other 
days. 

In the long hours of waking in the jacket, I found that 
I dwelt a great deal on Cecil Winwood, the poet-forger who 
had wantonly put all this torment on me, and who was even 
then at liberty out in the free world again. Ko ; I did not 
hate hinL The word is too weak. There is no word in 
the language strong enough to describe my feelings. 1 
can say only that I knew the gnawing of a desire for 
vengeance on him that was a pain in itself and that ex- 
ceeded all the bounds of language. I shall not tell you of 
the hours I devoted to plans of torture on him, nor of the 
diabolical means and devices of torture that I invented for 
him. Just one example. I was enamored of the ancient 
trick, whereby an iron basin, containing a rat, is fastened 
to a man's body. The only way out for the rat is througK 
the man himself. As I say, I was enamored of this, un- 
til I realized that such a death was too quick, whereupon 
I dwelt long and favorably on the Moorish trick of — but 
no, I promised to relate no further of this matter. Let 
it suffice that many of my pain-maddening waking hours 
jvere devoted to dreams of vengeance on Cecil Winwood, 



CHAPTEK IX 

One thing of great value I learned in the long, pain- 
IS^eary hours of waking — namely, the mastery of the body 
by the mind. I learned to suffer passively, as, un- 
(doubtedly, all men have learned who have passed through 
the post-graduate courses of straight]' acketing. Oh, it is 
iio easy trick to keep the brain in such serene repose that 
it is quite oblivious to the throbbing, exquisite complaint 
pf some tortured nerve. 

And it was this very mastery of the flesh by the spirit 
IR^hich I so acquired that enabled me easily to practice the 
secret Ed Morrell told to me. 

" Think it is curtains ? " Ed Morrell rapped to me one 
flight. 

I I had just been released from one hundred hours, and I 
jsvas weaker than I had ever been before. So weak was I 
that though my whole body was one mass of bruise and 
misery nevertheless I scarcely was aware that I had a body. 

" It looks like curtains," I rapped back. " They will 
get me if they keep it up much longer." 

" Don't let them," he advised. " There is a way. I 
learned it myself, down in the dungeons, when Massie and 
I got ours good and plenty. I pulled through. But 
■Massie croaked. If I hadn't learned the trick, I'd have 
croaked along with him. You've got to be pretty weak 
first, before you try it. If you try it when you are 
strong, you make a failure of it, and then that queers you 
forever after. I made the mistake of telling Jake the trick 
Svhen he was strong. Of course, he could not puU it off, 



THE STAK EOVER 67,j 

and in the times since when he did need it, it was too late, 
for his first failure had queered it. He won't even be- 
lieve it now. He thinks I am kidding him. — Ain't that 
right, Jake ? " 

And from Cell Thirteen Jake rapped back, " Don't swal- 
low it, Darrell. It's a sure fairy story." 

" Go on and tell me," I rapped to Morrell. 

" That is why I waited for you to get real weak," he con- 
tinued. " ]^ow you need it, and I am going to tell you. 
It's up to you. If you have got the will you can do it. 
I've done it three times, and I know." 

" Well, what is it ? " I rapped eagerly. — 1 

" The trick is to die in the jacket, to will yourself to die. | 
I know you don't get me yet, but wait. You know how 
you get numb in the jacket — how your arm or your leg 
goes to sleep. ISTow you can't help that, but you can take 
it for the idea and improve on it. Don't wait for your 
legs or anything to go to sleep. You lie on your back as 
comfortable as you can get, and you begin to use your 
will. 

" And this is the idea you must think to yourself, and 
that you must believe all the time you're thinking it. If [<^ 
you don't believe, then there's nothing to it. The thing you 
must think and believe is that your body is one thing and 
your spirit is another thing. You are you, and your 
body is something else that don't amount to shucks. Your 
body don't count. You're the boss. You don't need any 
body. And thinking and believing all this you proceed 
to prove it by using your will. You make your body die. _ 

" You begin with the toes, one at a time. You make 
your toes die. You will them to die. And if you've got 
the belief and the will your toes will die. That is the big 
job — to start the dying. Once you've got the first toe 
dead, the rest is easy, for you don't have to do any more be- 
lieving. You know. Then you put all your will into 



68 THE STAK KOVEK 

making the rest of tlie body dia I tell you, Darxell, I 
know. I've done it three times, 

" Once you get the dying started, it goes right along. 
And the funny thing is that you are all there all the time. 
Because your toes are dead don't make you in the least 
bit dead. By and by your legs are dead to the knees, and 
then to the thighs, and you are just the same as you al- 
ways were. It is your body that is dropping out of the 
game a chunk at a time. And you are just you, the same 
vou you were before you began." 

" And then what happens ? " I queried. 

" Well, when your body is all dead, and you are all there 
^et, you just skin out and leave your body. And when 
/I ^^ou leave your body you leave the cell. Stone walls and 
iron doors are to hold bodies in. They can't hold the 
spirit in. You see, you have proved it. You are spirit 
joutside of your body. You can look at your body from 
outside of it. I tell you I know because I have done it 
three times — looked at my body lying there with me out- 
side of it." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! " — Jake Oppenheimer rapped his laugh- 
ter thirteen cells away. 

" You see, that's Jake's trouble," Morrell went on. 
" He can't believe. That one time he tried it he was too 
strong and failed. And now he thinks I am kidding." 

" When you die you are dead, and dead men stay 
dead," Oppenheimer retorted. 

" I tell you I've been dead three times," Morrell argued. 

" And lived to tell us about it," Oppenheimer jeered. 

" But don't forget one thing, Darrell," Morrell rapped 
to me. " The thing is ticklish. You have a feeling all 
the time that you are taking liberties. I can't explain it, 
but I always had a feeling if I was away when they came 
and let my body out of the jacket that I couldn't get back 
into my body again. I mean that my body would be dead 



THE STAE ROVER 69 

Ipr keeps. And I didn't want it to be dead. I didn't 
want to give Captain Jamie and the rest that satisfaction. 
But I tell you, Darrell, if you can turn the trick you can 
laugh at the warden. Once you make your body die that 
way it don't matter whether they keep you in the jacket a 
month on end. You don't suffer none, and your body 
don't suffer. You know there are cases of people who have 
slept a whole year at a time. That's the way it will be 
with your body. It just stays there in the jacket, not hurt- 
ing or anything, just waiting for you to come back. 

" You try it. I am giving you the straight steer." 

" And if he don't come back ? " Oppenheimer asked. 

" Then the laugh will be on him, I guess, Jake," Morrell 
answered. " Unless, maybe, it will be on us for sticking 
around this old dump when we could get away that easy." 

And here the conversation ended, for Pie-Face Jones, 
waking crustily from stolen slumber, threatened Morrell 
and Oppenheimer with a report next morning that would 
mean the jacket for them. Me he did not threaten, for 
he knew I was doomed for the jacket anyway. 

I lay long there in the silence, forgetting the misery of 
my body while I considered this proposition Morrell had 
advanced. Already, as I have explained, by mechanical 
self-hypnosis I had sought to penetrate back through time 
to my previous selves. That I had partly succeeded, I 
knew; but all that I had experienced was a fluttering of 
apparitions that merged erratically and were without con- 
tinuity. 

But Morrell's method was so patently the reverse of my 
method of self-hypnosis, that I was fascinated. By my 
method, my consciousness went first of all. By his 
method, consciousness persisted last of all, and, when the 
body was quite gone, passed into stages so sublimated that 
it left the body, left the prison of San Quentin, and 
journeyed afar, and was still consciousness. 



no THE STAR ROVER 

It was wortli a trial, anyway, I concluded. !And, de- 
spite the skeptical attitude of the scientist that was mine, 
I believed. I had no doubt I could do what Morrell said 
he had done three times. Perhaps this faith that so easily; 
possessed me was due to my extreme debility. Perhaps 1 
was not strong enough to be skeptical. This was the 
hypothesis already suggested by Morrell. It was a con- 
clusion of pure empiricism, and I, too, as you shall see, 
demonstrated it empirically. 



CHAPTEK X 

[AiTD above all things, next morning "Warden AtHerton 
Came into mj cell on murder intent. With him were 
Captain Jamie, Doctor Jackson, Pie-Face Jones, and Al 
Eutchins. Al Hutchins was serving a forty-years' sen- 
tence, and was in hopes of being pardoned out. For four 
years he had been head trusty of San Quentin. That this 
was a position of great power you will realize when I tell 
you that the graft alone of the head trusty was estimated at 
three thousand dollars a year. Wherefore Al Hutchins, in 
possession of ten or twelve ^thousand dollars and of the 
promise of a pardon, could be depended upon to do the 
isvarden's bidding blind. 

' I have just said that Warden Atherton came into my 
cell intent on murder. His face showed it. His actions 
[proved it. 

" Examine him," he ordered Doctor Jackson. 

That wretched apology of a creature stripped from me 
iny dirt-encrusted shirt that I had worn since my entrance 
ito solitary, and exposed my poor wasted body, the skin 
ridged like brown parchment over the ribs and sore-in- 
fested from the many bouts with the jacket. The exam- 
ination was shamelessly perfunctory. 

" Will he stand it ? " the warden demanded. 

" Yes," Dr. Jackson answered. 

'*' How's the heart ? " 

^* Splendid." 

" You think he'll stand ten days of it, Doc ? " 

-" Sure." 

"I don't believe it," the warden announced savagely. 

71 



'H2 THE STAE EOVER 

"But we'll try it just the same. — Lie down, Standing.'* 

I obeyed, stretching myself face-downward on the flat- 
spread jacket. The warden seemed to debate with him- 
self for a moment 

" Eoll over," he commanded. 

I made several efforts, but was too weak to succeed, and 
could only sprawl and squirm in my helplessness. 

" Putting it on," was Jackson's comment. 

" Well, he won't have to put it on when I'm done witK 
him," said the warden. " Lend him a hand. I can't 
waste any more time on him." 

So they rolled me over on my back where I stared up^ 
into Warden Atherton's face. 

" Standing," he said slowly, " I've given you all the rope 
I am going to. I am sick and tired of your stubbornness. 
My patience is exhausted. Doctor Jackson says you are 
in condition to stand ten days in the jacket. You can 
figure your chances. But I am going to give you your 
last chance now. Come across with the dynamite. The 
moment it is in my hands I'll take you out of here. You 
can bathe and shave and get clean clothes. I'll let you 
loaf for six months on hospital grub, and then I'll put you 
trusty in the library. You can't ask me to be fairer with 
you than that. Besides, you're not squealing on anybody. 
You are the only person in San Quentin who knows where 
the dynamite is. You won't hurt anybody's feelings by 
giving in, and you'll be all to the good from the moment 
you do give in. And if you don't — " 

He paused and shrugged his shoulders significantly. 

"Well, if you don't, you start in the ten days right 
now." 

The prospect was terrifying. So weak was I that I was 
as certain as the warden was that it meant death in the 
jacket. And then I remembered Morrell's trick. Now, if 
ever, was the need of it ; and now, if ever, was the time to 



THE STAK ROVER 73 

practice the faith of it. I smiled up in the face of 
Warden Atherton. And I put faith in that smile, and 
faith in the proposition I made to him. 

" Warden/' I said, " do you see the way I am smiling ? 
Well, if at the end of ten days, when you unlace me, 
I smile up at you in the same way, will you give a sack 
of Bull Durham and a package of brown papers to Morrell 
and Oppenheimer ? " 

"Ain't they the crazy ginks, these college guys," Cap- 
tain Jamie snorted. 

Warden Atherton was a choleric man, and he took my 
request for insulting braggadocio. 

" Just for that you get an extra cinching," he informed 
me. 

" I made you a sporting proposition. Warden," I said 
iquietly. " You can cinch me as tight as you please, but if 
I smile ten days from now will you give the Bull Durham 
to Morrell and Oppenheimer ? " 

^' You are mighty sure of yourself," he retorted. 

" That's why I made the proposition," I replied. 

** Getting religion, eh ? " he sneered. 

*' No," was my answer. " It merely happens that I 
possess more life than you can ever reach the end of. 
Make it a hundred days if you want, and I'll smile at you 
svhen it's over." 

" I guess ten days will more than do you. Standing." 

*' That's your opinion," I said. " Have you got faitK 
in it ? If you have you won't even lose the price of the 
two five-cent sacks of tobacco. Anyway, what have you got 
to be afraid of ? " 

" For two cents I'd kick the face off of you right now," 
lie snarled. 

" Don't let mo stop you." I was impudently suave. 
•" Kick as hard as you please, and I'll still have enough! 
face left with which to smile. In the meantime, yrhile 



74 THE STAE ROVER 

you are Hesitating, suppose you accept my original proposi- 
tion." 

A man must be terribly weak and profoundly desperate! 
to be able, under such circumstances, to beard the warden 
in solitary. Or he may be both, and, in addition, he may; 
, have faith. I know now that I had the faith and go acted 
^on it. I believed what Morrell had told me. I believed 
in the lordship of the mind over the body. I believed that 
not even a hundred days in the jacket could kiU me. 

Captain Jamie must have sensed this faith that in- 
formed me, for he said : 

" I remember a Swede that went crazy twenty years ago. 
That was before your time. Warden. He'd killed a man 
in a quarrel over twenty-five cents and got life for it. He 
was a cook. He got religion. He said that a golden 
chariot was coming to take him to heaven, and he sat 
down on top the red-hot range and sang hymns and hosan- 
nahs while he cooked. They dragged him off, but ho 
croaked two days afterward in hospital. He was cooked 
to the bone. And to the end he swore he'd never felt th^ 
heat. Couldn't get a squeal out of him." 

" We'll make Standing squeal," said the warden. 

" Since you are so sure of it, why don't you accept mj^ 
proposition ? " I challenged. 

The warden was so angry that it would have been 
ludicrous to me had I not been in so desperate plight. His 
face was convulsed. He clenched his hands, and, for a •! 
moment, it seemed that he was about to fall upon me and 
give me a beating. Then, with an effort, he controlled 
himself. 

" All right, Standing," he snarled. " I'll go you. "Bui 
you bet your sweet life you'll have to go some to smile 
ten days from now. — Roll him over, boys, and cinch hini 
tiU you hear his ribs crack. — Hutchins, show him you 
know how to do it."- 



THE STAR ROVER Y5 

And they rolled me over and laced me as I had never 
been laced before. The head trusty certainly demon- 
strated his ability. I tried to steal what little space I 
could. Little it was, for I had long since shed my flesh, 
while my muscles were attenuated to mere strings. I had 
neither the strength nor bulk to steal more than a little, 
and the little I stole I swear I managed by sheer expan- 
sion at the joints of the bones of my frame. And of this 
little I was robbed by Hutchins, who, in the old days be- 
fore he was made head tnisty, had learned all the tricks 
of the jacket from the inside of the jacket. 

■You see, Hutchins was a cur at heart, or a creature who 
had once been a man but who had been broken on the wheel. 
He possessed ten or twelve thousand dollars, and his free- 
dom was in sight if he obeyed orders. Later, I learned 
that there was a girl who had remained true to him, and 
who was even then waiting for him. The woman factor] 
explains many things of men. 

If ever a man deliberately committed murder, Al 
Hutchins did that morning in solitary at the warden's 
bidding. He robbed me of the little space I stole. And, 
having robbed me of that, my body was defenseless, so that 
with his foot in my back while he drew the lacing tight, 
he constricted me as no man had ever before succeeded in 
doing. So severe was this constriction of my frail frame 
upon my vital organs, that I felt, there and then, imme- 
diately, that death was upon me. And still the miracle 
of faith was mine. I did not believe that I was going to 
die. I knew — I say I knew — that I was not going to 
die. My head was swimming, and my heart was pound- 
ing from my toe-nails to the hair-roots in my scalp. 

" That's pretty tight," Captain Jamie urged reluctantly. 

" The hell it is," said Doctor Jackson. " I tell you 
nothing can hurt him. He's a wooz. He ought to have 
been dead long ago." 



x^' 



76 THE STAR EOVER 

Warden Atherton, after a hard struggle, managed to 
insert his forefinger between the lacing and my back. He 
brought his foot to bear upon me, with the weight of his 
body added to his foot, and pulled, but failed to get any 
fraction of an inch of slack. 

" I take my hat off to you, Hutchins," he said. " You 
( know your job. 'Now roll him over and let's look at him." 

They rolled me over on my back. I stared up at them 
with bulging eyes. This I know: Had they laced me in 
such fashion the first time I went into the jacket, I should 
surely have died in the first ten minutes. But I was well 
trained. I had behind me the thousands of hours in the 
3acket, and, plus that, I had faith in what Morrell had 
told me. 

" [Row, laugh, damn you, laugh," said the warden to 
jne. " Start that smile you've been bragging about." 

So, while my lungs panted for a little air, while my 
Eeart threatened to burst, while my mind reeled, neverthe- 
less I was able to smile up into the warden's face. 



CHAPTER XI 

The door clanged, shutting out all but a little light, ' 
and I was left alone on my back. By the tricks I had 
long since learned in the jacket, I managed to writhe my- 
seK across the floor an inch at a time until the edge of the 
sole of my right shoe touched the door. There was an 
immense cheer in this. I was not utterly alone. If the 
need arose, I could at least rap knuckle talk to Morrell. 

But Warden Atherton must have left strict injunctions 
on the guards, for, though I managed to call Morrell and 
tell him I intended trying the experiment, he was pre- 
vented by the guards from replpng. Me they could only 
curse, for, insofar as I was in the jacket for a ten days' 
bout, I was beyond all threat of punishment. 

I remember remarking at the time my serenity of mind. 
The customary pain of the jacket was in my body, but my 
mind was so passive that I was no more aware of the pain 
than was I aware of the floor beneath me or the walls 
around me. Never was a man in better mental and spirit- 
ual condition for such an experiment. Of course, this was 
largely due to my extreme weakness. But there was more 
to it. I had long schooled myself to be oblivious to pain<-'< 
I had neither doubts nor fears. All the content of my 
mind seemed to be an absolute faith in the overlordship of 
the mind. This passivity was almost dream-like, and yet, 
in its way, it was positive almost to a pitch of exaltation, -n 

I began my concentration of will. Even then my body 
■was numbing and prickling from the loss of circulation. 
I directed my will to the little toe of my right foot, and I 

■vrilled that toe to cease to be alive in my consciousness. I 

77 



78 THE STAR EOVER 

willed that toe to die — to die so far as I, its lord, and a 
different thing entirely from it, was concerned. There 
was the hard struggle. Morrell had warned me that it 
would be so. But there was no flicker of doubt to disturb 
my faith. I knew that that toe would die, and I knew 
when it was dead. Joint by joint it had died under the 
compulsion of my will. 

The rest was easy, but slow, I will admit. Joint by 
joint, toe by toe, all the toes of both my feet ceased to be. 
And joint by joint, the process went on. Came the time 
when my flesh below the ankles had ceased. Came the 
time when all below my knees had ceased. 

Such was the pitch of my perfect exaltation, that I 
knew not the slightest prod of rejoicing at my success. I 
knew nothing save that I was making my body die. All 
that was I, was devoted to that sole task. I performed the 
work as thoroughly as any mason laying bricks, and I re- 
garded the work as just about as commonplace as would a 
brick-mason regard his work. 

At the end of an hour my body was dead to the hips, and 
from the hips up, joint by joint, I continued to will the 
ascending death. 

It was when I reached the level of my heart that the 
first blurring and dizzying of my consciousness occurred. 
For fear that I should lose consciousness, I willed to hold 
the death I had gained, and shifted my concentration to 
my fingers. My brain cleared again, and the death of my 
arms to the shoulders was most rapidly accomplished. 

At this stage my body was all dead, so far as I was con- 
cerned, save my head and a little patch of my chest. ]^o 
longer did the pound and smash of my compressed heart 
echo in my brain. My heart was beating steadily but 
feebly. The joy of it, had I dared joy at such a mo- 
ment, would have been the cessation of sensation. 

At this point, my experience differs from Morrell's. 



THE STAR ROVER H9. 

Still -willing automatically, I began to grow dreamy, as 
one does in that borderland between sleep and waking. 
Also, it seemed as if a prodigious enlargement of my 
brain was taking place within the skull itself that did not 
enlarge. There were occasional glintings and flashings of 
light, as if even I, the overlord, had ceased for a moment 
and the next moment was again myself, still the tenant of 
the fleshly tenement that I was making to die. 

Most perplexing was the seeming enlargement of brain. 
.Without having passed through the wall of skull, never- 
theless it seemed to me that the periphery of my brain was 
already outside my skull and still expanding. Along with 
this was one of the most remarkable sensations or experi^ 
ences that I have ever encountered. Time and space, inj ^ 
sof ar as they were the stuff of my consciousness, underwent 
an enormous extension. Thus, without opening my eye| 
to verify, I knew that the walls of my narrow cell had 
receded until it was like a vast audience chamber. And 
while I contemplated the matter I knew that they con- 
tinued to recede. The whim struck me for a moment that 
if a similar expansion were taking place with the whole 
prison, then the outer walls of San Quentin must be far 
out in the Pacific Ocean on one side and on the other side 
must be encroaching on the ISTevada desert. A companion 
whim was that since matter could permeate matter, then 
the walls of my cell might well permeate the prison walls, 
pass through the prison walls, and thus put my cell out- 
side the prison and put me at liberty. Of course, this 
was pure fantastic whim, and I knew it at the time for 
what it was. 

The extension of time was equally remarkable. Only at 
long intervals did my heart beat. Again a whim came to 
mo, and I counted the seconds, slow and sure, between my 
heart beats. At first, as I clearly noted, over a hundred 
seconds intervened between beats. But as I continued to 



80 THE STAE ROVEE 

count, the intervals extended so that I was made weary of 
counting. 
^i^Snd while this illusion of the extension of time and 
^ space persisted and grew, I found myself dreamily con- 
sidering a new and profound problem. Morrell had told 
me that he had won freedom from his body by killing his 
body — or by eliminating his body from his conscious- 
ness, which, of course, was in effect the same thing. Now, 
my body was so near to being entirely dead, that I knew 
in all absoluteness that by a quick concentration of will on 
the yet-alive patch of my torso, it, too, would cease to be. 
But — and here was the problem, and Morrell had not 
warned me : should I also will my head to be dead ? If I 
<did so, no matter what befell the spirit of Darrell Stand- 
ing, would not the body of Darrell Standing be forever 
dead? 

I chanced the chest and the slow-beating heart. The 
iquick compulsion of my will was rewarded. I no longer 
had chest nor heart. I was only a mind, a soul, a con- 
sciousness — call it what you will — incorporate in a nebu- 
lous brain that, while it still centered inside my skull, was 
3xpanded, and was continuing to expand, beyond my skulL 
I And then, with flashings of light, I was off and away. 
/^ sAt a bound, I had vaulted prison roof and California sky, 
and was among the stars. I say " stars " advisedly. I 
walked among the stars. I was a child. I was clad in 
frail, fleece-like, delicate-colored robes that shimmered in 
the cool starlight. These robes, of course, were based upon 
my boyhood observance of circus actors and my boyhood 
conception of the garb of young angels. 

ISTevertheless, thus clad, I trod interstellar space, ex- 
alted by the knowledge that I was bound on vast adventure, 
where, at the end, I would find all the cosmic formulae and 
have made clear to me the ultimate secret of the universa 
In my hand I carried a long glass wand. It was borne in 



THE STAR ROVER 81 

upon me that with the tip of this wand I must touch each 
star in passing. And I knew, in all absoluteness, that did 
I but miss one star I should be precipitated into some un- 
plummeted abyss of unthinkable and eternal punishment 
and guilt. 

Long I pursued my starry quest. When I say " long," 
you must bear in mind the enormous extension of time that 
had occurred in my brain. Eor centuries I trod space, 
with the tip of my wand and with unerring eye and 
hand tapping each star I passed. Ever the way grew 
brighter. Ever the ineffable goal of infinite wisdom grew: 
nearer. And yet I made no mistake. This was no other 
seK of mine. This was no experience that had once been 
mine. I was aware all the time that it was I, Darrell 
Standing, who walked among the stars and tapped them 
with a wand of glass. In short, I knew that here was noth- 
ing real, nothing that had ever been or could ever be. I 
knew that it was nothing else than a ridiculous orgy of the 
imagination, such as men enjoy in drug dreams, in de- 
lirium, or in mere ordinary slumber. 

And then, as all went merry and well with me on my 
celestial quest, the tip of my wand missed a star, and on 
the instant I knew I had been guilty of a great crime. 
And on the instant, a knock, vast and compulsive, inexor- 
able and mandatory as the stamp of the iron hoof of doom, 
smote me and reverberated across the universe. The whole 
sidereal system coruscated, reeled and fell in flame. 

I was torn by an exquisite and disruptive agony. And 
on the instant, I was Darrell Standing, the life-convict, 
lying in his straight] acket in solitary. And I knew the 
immediate cause of that summons. It was a rap of the 
knuckle by Ed Morrell, in Cell Five, beginning the spell- 
ing of some message. 

And now, to give some comprehension of the extension 
of time and space that I was experiencing. Many days 



82 THE STAR EOVER 

afterward I asked Morrell what he had tried to convey to 
me. It was a simple message, namely : " Standing, are 
you there ? " He had tapped it rapidly, while the guard 
was at the far end of the corridor into which the solitary 
cells opened. As I say, he had tapped the message very 
rapidly. And now behold ! Between the first tap and the 
second, I was off and away among the stars, clad in fleecy 
garments, touching each star as I passed in my pursuit of 
the formula3 that would explain the last mystery of life. 
And as before, I pursued the quest for centuries. Then 
came the summons, the stamp of the hoof of doom, the ex- 
quisite disruptive agony, and again I was back in my cell 
in San Quentin. It was the second tap of Ed MorrelFa 
knuckle. The interval between it and the first tap could 
have been no more than a fifth of a second. And yet, so 
unthinlvably enormous was the extension of time to me, 
that in the course of that fifth of a second I had been away 
star-roving for long ages. 

Now I know, my reader, that the foregoing seems all sL 
farrago. I agree with you. It is farrago. It was ex- 
perience, however. It was just as real to me as is the 
snake beheld by a man in delirium tremens. 

Possibly, by the most liberal estimate, it may have taken 
Ed Morrell two minutes to tap his question. Yet to me, 
aeons elapsed between the first tap of his knuckle and the 
last. No longer could I tread my starry path with that 
ineffable pristine joy, for my way was beset with dread 
of the inevitable summons that would rip and tear me as 
it jerked me back to my straight jacket hell. Thus my 
seons of star-wandering were seons of dread. 

And all the time I knew it was Ed Morrell's knuckle 
that thus cruelly held me earth-bound. I tried to speak to 
him, to ask him to cease. But so thoroughly had I elimi- 
nated my body from my consciousness that I was unable to 
resurrect it. My body lay dead in the jacket, though I 



THE STAR ROVER 83 

still inhabited the skull. In vain I strove to will my foot 
to tap my message to Morrell. I reasoned I had a foot. 
And yet, so thoroughly had I carried out the experiment, 
I had no foot. 

jSText — and I know now that it was because Morrell 
had spelled his message quite out — I pursued my way 
among the stars and was not called back. After that, and 
in the course of it, I was aware, drowsily, that I was fall- 
ing asleep, and that it was delicious sleep. From time to 
time, drowsily, I stirred — please, my reader, don't miss 
that verb — I stieked. I moved my legs, my arms. 
I was aware of clean, soft bed linen against my skin. I 
was aware of bodily well being. Oh, it was delicious. 
As thirsting men on the desert dream of splashing foun- 
tains and flowing wells, so dreamed I of easement from the 
constriction of the jacket, of cleanliness in the place of 
filth, of smooth velvety skin of health in place of my poor 
parchment-crinkled hide. But I dreamed with, a differ- 
ence, as you shall see. 

I awoke. Oh, broad and wide awake I was, althoughi 
I did not open my eyes. And please know that in all that 
follows I knew no surprise whatever. Everything was the 
natural and the expected. I was I, be sure of that. But 
I ivas not Darrell Standing. Darrell Standing had no 
more to do with, the being I was, than did Darrell Stand- 
ing's parchment-crinkled skin have aught to do with the 
cool, soft skin that was mine. iN'or was I aware of any 
Darrell Standing — as I could not well be, considering 
that Darrell Standing was as yet unborn and would not be 
bom for centuries. But you shall see. 

I lay with closed eyes, lazily listening. Erom without 
came the clacking of many hoofs moving orderly on stone 
flags. From the accompanying jingle of metal bits of 
man-harness and steed-harness I knew some cavalcade was 
passing by on the street beneath my windows. Also, I 



\^ 



84 THE STAR EOVEE 

wondered idly who it was. From somewKere — and I 
knew where, for I knew it was from the inn yard — cajne 
the ring and stamp of hoofs and an impatient neigh that I 
recognized as belonging to my waiting horse. 

Came steps and movements — steps openly advertised 
as suppressed with the intent of silence and that yet were 
deliberately noisy with the secret intent of rousing me 
if I still slept. I smiled inwardly at the rascal's trick. 

" Pons," I ordered, without opening my eyes, " water, 
cold water, quick, a deluge. I drank over long last night, 
and now my gullet scorches." 

" And slept over long to-day," he scolded, as he passed 
me the water, ready in his hand. 

I sat up, opened my eyes, and carried the tankard to my 
lips with both my hands. And as I drank I looked at 
Pons. 

'Now note two things. I spoke in French; I was not 
conscious that I spoke in French. I^ot until afterward, 
back in solitary, when I remembered what I am narrating, 
did I know that I had spoken in French — ay, and spoken 
well. As for me, Darrell Standing, at present writing 
these lines in Murderers' Row of Folsom Prison, why, I 
know only high school French sufficient to enable me to 
read the language. As for speaking it — impossible. I 
can scarcely intelligibly pronounce my way through a 
menu. 

But to return. Pons was a little withered old man. He 
was bom in our house — I know, for it chanced that men- 
tion was made of it this very day I am describing. Pons 
was all of sixty years. He was mostly toothless, and, de- 
spite a pronounced limp that compelled him to go slippity- 
hop, he was very alert and spry in all his movements. 
Also, he was impudently familiar. This was because he 
had been in my house sixty years. He had been my 
father's servant before I could toddle, and after my father's 



THE STAE EOVER 85 

deatbi (Pons and I talked of it this day), he became my 
servant The limp he had acquired on a stricken field in 
Italy, when the horsemen charged across. He had just 
dragged my father clear of the hoofs, when he was lanced 
through the thigh, overthrown, and trampled. My father, 
conscious but helpless from his own wounds, witnessed it 
all. And so, as I say. Pons had earned such a right to 
impudent familiarity that at least there was no gainsaying 
him by my father's son. 

Pons shook his head as I drained the huge draught. 

" Did you hear it boil V 1 laughed, as I handed bacK 
the empty tankard. 

" Like your father," he said hopelessly. " But your 
father lived to learn better, w^hich I doubt you will do." 

" He got a stomach affliction," I deviled, " so that one 
mouthful of spirits turned it outside in. It were wisdom 
not to drink when one's tank will not hold the drink." 

While we talked. Pons was gathering to my bedside my 
clothes for the day. 

" Drink on, my master," he answered. " It won't hurt 
you. You'll die with a sound stomach." 

" You mean mine is an iron-lined stomach ? " I wilfully" 
misunderstood him. 

" I mean — " he began with a quick peevishness, then 
broke off as he realized my teasing and with a pout of his 
withered lips draped my new sable cloak upon a chair- 
back. " Eight hundred ducats," he sneered. " A thou- 
sand goats and a hundred fat oxen in a coat to keep you 
warm. A score of farms on my gentleman's fine back." 

" And in that, a hundred fine farms, with a castle or two 
thrown in, to say nothing, perhaps, of a palace," I said, 
reaching out my hand and touching the rapier which he 
was just in the act of depositing on the chair. 

" So your father won with his good right arm," Pons 
retorted. " But what your father won he held." 



86 THE STAR EOVER 

Here Pons paused to hold up to scorn my new scarle 
satin doublet — a wondrous thing of which I had beei 
extravagant. 

" Sixty ducats for that," Pons indicted. " Youi 
father'd have seen all the tailors and Jews of Christendon 
roasting in hell before he'd a-paid such a price." 

And while we dressed — that is, while Pons helped m( 
to dress — I continued to quip with him. 

" It is quite clear. Pons, that you have not heard th( 
news," I said slyly. 

Whereat up pricked his ears like the old gossip he was. 

" Late news ? " he queried. " Mayhap from the Englisl 
Court ? " 

" Nay," I shook my head. " But news perhaps to you 
but old news for all of that. Have you not heard ? The 
philosophers of Greece were whispering it nigh two thou 
sand years ago. It is because of that news that I pul 
twenty fat farms on my back, live at Court, and am become 
a dandy. You see, Pons, the world is a most evil place 
life is most sad, all men die, and, being dead . . . well 
are dead. Wherefore, to escape the evil and the sadness 
men in these days, like me, seek amazement, insensibility, 
and the madnesses of dalliance." 

" But the news, master ? What did the philosophen 
whisper about so long ago ? " 

" That God was dead. Pons," I replied solemnly, 
" Didn't you know that ? God is dead, and I soon shall 
be, and I wear twenty fat farms on my back." 

" God lives," Pons asserted fervently. " God lives, and 
his kingdom is at hand. I tell you, master, it is at hand. 
It may be no later than to-morrow that the earth shall pass 
away." 

" So said they in old Eome, Pons, when "NeTO made 
torches of them to light his sports." 



THE STAR ROVER 8T 

Pons regarded me pityingly. 

" Too much learning is a sickness," lie complained. " I 
was always opposed to it. But you must have your will 
and drag my old body about with you — a-studying as- 
tronomy and numbers in Venice, poetry and all the Italian 
fol-de-rols in Florence, and astrology in Pisa, and God 
knows what in that madman country of Germany. Pish 
for the philosophers. I tell you, master, I, Pons, your 
servant, a poor old man who knows not a letter from a 
pike-staff — I tell you God lives, and the time you shall 
appear before him is short." He paused with sudden 
recollection, and added, " He is here, the priest you spoke 
of." 

On the instant I remembered my engagement. 

" Why did you not tell me before ? " I demanded angrily. 

" What did it matter ? " Pons shrugged his shoulders. 
" Has he not been waiting two hours as it is ? " 

" Why didn't you call me ? " 

He regarded me with a thoughtful, censorious eye. 

" And you rolling to bed and shouting like chanticleer, 
* Sing cucu, sing cucu, cucu nu nu cucu, sing cucu, sing 
cucu, sing cucu, sing cucu.' " 

He mocked me with the senseless refrain in an ear- 
jangling falsetto. Without doubt, I had bawled the non- 
sense out on my way to bed. 

" You have a good memory," I commented drily, as I 
essayed a moment to drape my shoulders with the new 
sable cloak ere I tossed it to Pons to put aside. He shook 
his head sourly. 

" No need of memory when you roared it over and 
over for the thousandth time till half the inn was a-knock 
at the door to spit you for the sleep-killer you were. And 
when I had you decently in the bed, did you not call me 
to you and command, if the devil called, to tell him my 



1^ 



88 THE STAE KOVER 

lady slept? And did you not call me bact again, and. 
with a grip on my arm that leaves it bruised and black this 
day, command me, as I loved life, fat meat, and the v^anr 
fire, to call you not of the morning save for one thing ? " 

" Which was ? " I prompted, unable for the life of mt 
to guess what I could have said. 

" Which was the heart of one, a black buzzard, you said; 
by name Martinelli — whoever he may be — for the heari 
of Martinelli smoking on a gold platter. The platter must 
be gold, you said ; and you said I must call you by singing. 
* Sing cucu, sing cucu, sing cucu.' Whereat you began tc 
teach me how to sing, ' Sing cucu, sing cucu, sing cucu.' " 

And when Pons had said the name, I knew it at once 
for the priest, Martinelli, who had been knocking his heels 
two mortal hours in the room without. 

When Martinelli was permitted to enter and as he sa- 
i 'luted me by title and name, I knew at once my name and 
^^11 of it. I was Count Guillaume Sainte-Maure. (Yon 
,Bee, only could I know then, and remember afterward, 
\|(rhat was in my conscious mind.) 

The priest was Italian, dark and small, lean as with 
fasting or with a wasting hunger not of this world, and 
his hands were small and slender as a woman's. But 
his eyes ! They were cunning and trustless, narrow-slitted 
and heavy-lidded, at one and the same time as sharp as a 
ferret's and as indolent as a basking lizard's. 

" There has been much delay, Count de Sainte-Maure," 
he began promptly, when Pons had left the room at a 
glance from me. " He whom I serve grows impatient." 

" Change your tune, priest," I broke in angrily. " Ee- 
member, you are not now in Rome." 

" My august master — " he began. 

"Rules augustly in Rome, mayhap," I again inter- 
tnpted. " This is France." 

Martinelli shrugged his shoulders meekly and patiently, 



THE STAR EOVEE 89 

but his eyes, gleaming like a basilisk's, gave bis shoulders 
the lie. 

" My august master has some concern with the doings of 
France," he said quietly. " The lady is not for you. 
My master has other plans. . . ." He moistened his thin 
lips with his tongue. " Other plans for the lady . . . and 
for you." 

Of course, by the lady I knew he referred to the great 
Duchess Philippa, widow of Geoffroy, last Duke of Aqui- 
tane. But great duchess, widow, and all, Philippa was a 
woman, and young, and gay, and beautiful, and, by my 
faith, fashioned for me. 

" What are his plans ? " I demanded bluntly. 

" They are deep and wide. Count Sainte-Maure — too 
<ieep and wide for me to presume to imagine, much less 
know or discuss with you or any man." 

" Oh, I know big things are afoot and slimy worms 
squirming underground," I said. 

" They told me you were stubborn-necked, but I have 
obeyed commands." 

Martinelli arose to leave, and I arose with him. 

" I said it was useless," he went on. " But the last 
chance to change your mind was accorded you. My august 
master deals more fairly than fair." 

" Oh, well, I'll think the matter over," I said airily, as 
I bowed the priest to the door. 

He stopped abruptly at the threshold. 

" The time for thinking is past," he said. " It is de- 
cision I came for." 

" I will think the matter over," I repeated, then added 
as afterthought : " If the lady's plans do not accord with 
mine, then mayhap the plans of your master may fruit 
as he desires. For remember, priest, he is no master of 
mine." 

" You do not know my master," he said solemnly. 



90 THE STAR ROVER 

" !N^or do I wisli to know him," I retorted. 

And I listened to the lithe light step of the little in- 
triguing priest go down the creaking stairs. 

Did I go into the minutia of detail of all that I saw this 
half a day and half a night that I was Count Guillaume de 
Sainte-Maure, not ten books the size of this I am writing 
could contain the totality of the matter. Much I shall 
skijo, in fact, I shall skip almost all; for never yet have 
I heard of a condemned man being reprieved in order that 
he might comj)lete his memoirs — at least, not in Cali- 
fornia. 

When I rode out in Paris that day, it was the Paris of 
centuries agone. The narrow streets were an unsanitary 
scandal of filth and slime. — But I must skip. And skip 
I shall, all of the afternoon's events, all of the ride outside 
the walls, of the grand fete given by Hugh de Meung, of the 
feasting and the drinking in which I took little part. 
Only of the end of the adventure will I write, which be- 
gins with where I stood jesting with Philippa herself 

— ah, dear God, she was wondrous beautiful. A great 
lady — ay, but before that, and after that, and always, a 
woman. 

We laughed and jested lightly enough, as about us jos- 
tled the merry throng; but under our jesting was the deep 
earnestness of man and woman well advanced across the 
threshold of love and yet not too sure each of the other. I 
shall not describe her. She was small, exquisitely slender 

— but there, I am describing her. In brief, she was the 
one woman in the world for me, and little I recked the 
long arm of that gray old man in Rome could reach out 
half across Europe between my woman and me. 

And the Italian, Eortini, leaned to my shoulder and 
:whispered : 

" One who desires to speak." 

'" One who must wait my pleasure," I answered shortly* 

/ 



ffHE STAR EOVER 91 

*' I wait no man's pleasure," was his equally short reply. 

'And, while my blood boiled, I remembered the priest, 
Martinelli, and the gray old man at Eome. The thing 
was clear. It was deliberate. It was the long arm. 
[Fortini smiled lazily at me while I thus paused for the 
moment to debate, but in his smile was the essence of all 
insolence. 

This, of all times, was the time I should have been cool. 
But the old red anger began to kindle in me. This was 
the work of the priest. This was the Fortini, poverished 
of all save lineage, reckoned the best sword come up out 
of Italy in half a score of years. To-night it was Fortini. 
If he failed the gray old man's command, to-morrow it 
would be another sword, the next day another. And, per- 
chance still failing, then might I expect the common bravo's 
steel in my back or the common poisoner's philter in my; 
wine, my meat, or bread. 

" I am busy," I said. " Begone." 

" My business with you presses," was his reply. 

Insensibly our voices had slightly risen, so that Philippa 
heard. 

" Begone, you Italian hound," I said. " Take your 
howling from my door. I shall attend to you presently." 

" The moon is up," he said. " The grass is dry and ex- 
cellent. There is no dew. Beyond the fish pond, an ar- 
row's flight to the left, is an open space, quiet and private." 

" Presently you shall have your desire," I muttered im- 1 
patiently. 

But still he persisted in waiting at my shoulder. 

■' Presently," I said. " Presently I shall attend to you." 

Then spoke Philippa, in all the daring spirit and tho 
iron of her. 

" Satisfy the gentleman's desire, Sainte-Maure. Attend 
to him now. And good fortune go with you." She 
paused to beckon to her uncle Jean de Joinville who was 



m iTHE STAR ROYER 

passing — uncle on her motlier's side, of the de Joinvilles 
of Anjou. " Good fortune go with you," she repeated, and 
then leaned to me so that she could whisper : " And my 
heart goes with you, Sainte-Maure. Do not be long. I 
shall await you in the big hall." 

I was in the seventh heaven. I trod on air. It was the 
first frank admittance of her love. And with such bene- 
diction I was made so strong that I knew I could kill a 
score of Fortinis and snap my fingers at a score of gray; 
old men in Rome. 

Jean de Joinville bore Philippa away in the press, and 
Fortini and I settled our arrangements in a trice. We 
separated — he to find a friend or so, and I to find a friend 
or so, and all to meet at the appointed place beyond the 
fish pond. 

First I found Robert Lanfranc, and, next, Henry Bohe- 
mond. But before I found them, I encountered a windle- 
straw which showed which way blew the wind and gave 
promise of a very gale. I knew the windlestraw, Guy de 
[Villehardouin, a raw young provincial, come up the first 
time to Court, but a fiery little cockerel for all of that. 
He was red-haired. His blue eyes, small and pinched close 
together, were likewise red, at least in the whites of them ; 
and his skin, of the sort that goes with such types, was red 
and freckled. He had quite a parboiled appearance. 

As I passed him, by a sudden movement he jostled me. 
Dh, of course, the thing was deliberate. And he flamed at 
me while his hand dropped to his rapier. 
I " Faith," thought I, " the gray old man has many and 
strange tools," while to the cockerel I bowed and mur- 
mured, " Your pardon for my clumsiness. The fault was 
mine. Your pardon, Villehardouin." 
' But he was not to be appeased thus easily. And while 
He fumed and strutted, I glimpsed Robert Lanfranc, beck- 
oned him to us, and explained the happening. 



THE STAR ROYER 03 

" Sainte-Maure has accorded you satisfaction," was his 
judgment " He has prayed your pardon." 

" In truth, yes," I interrupted in my suavest tones. 
" And I pray your pardon again, Villehardouin, for my 
very great clumsiness. I pray your pardon a thousand 
times. The fault was mine, though unintentioned. In 
my haste to an engagement I was clumsy, most woful 
clumsy, but without intention." 

What could the dolt do but grudgingly accept the amends 
I so freely proffered him ? Yet I knew, as Lanf ranc and 
I hastened on, that ere many days, or hours, the flame- 
headed youth would see to it that we measured steel to- 
gether on the grass. 

I explained no more to Lanfranc than my need of him, 
and he was little interested to pry deeper into the matter. 
He was himself a lively youngster of no more than twenty, 
but he had been trained to arms, had fought in Spain, and 
had an honorable record on the grass. Merely his blacls 
eyes flashed when he learned what was toward, and such! 
was his eagerness that it was he who gathered Henry Bo- 
hemond in to our number. 

When the three of us arrived in the open space beyond 
the fish pond, Fortini and two friends were already wait- 
ing us. One was Eelix Pasquini, nephew to the Cardinal 
of that name, and as close in his uncle's confidence as was 
his uncle close in the confidence of the gray old man. The 
other was Raoul de Goncourt, whose presence surprised me, 
he being too good and noble a man for the company he 
kept. 

We saluted properly, and properly went about the busi- 
ness. It was nothing new to any of us. The footing was 
good, as promised. There was no dew. The moon shone 
fair, and Fortini's blade and mine were out and at earnest 
play. 

This I tnew: good swordsman as tHey reckoned me in 



M THE STAR ROVER 

Prance, Fortini was a better. This, too, I knew: that I 
carried my lady's heart with me this night, and that this 
night, because of me, there would be one Italian less in 
the world. I say I knew it. In my mind the issue could 
not be in doubt. And as our rapiers played I pondered 
the manner I should kill him. I was not minded for a 
long contest. Quick and brilliant had always been my 
way. And further, what of my past gay months of ca- 
rousal and of singing " Sing cucu, sing cucu, sing cucu," 
at ungodly hours, I knew I was not conditioned for a long 
contest. Quick and brilliant, was my decision. 

But quick and brilliant was a difficult matter with so 
consummate a swordsman as Fortini opposed to me. Be- 
sides, as luck would have it, Fortini, always the cold one, 
always the tireless-wristed, always sure and long, as report 
had it, in going about such business, on this night elected, 
too, the quick and brilliant. 

It Avas nervous, tingling work, for as surely as I sensed 
his intention of briefness, just as surely had he sensed 
mine. I doubt that I could have done the trick had it 
been broad day instead of moonlight. The dim light aided 
me. Also was I aided by divining, the moment in ad- 
vance, what he had in mind. It was the time attack, a 
common but perilous trick that every novice knows, that 
has laid on his back many a good man who attempted it, 
and that is so fraught with danger to the perpetrator that 
swordsmen are not enamored of it. 

We had been at work barely a minute, when I knew un- 
der all his darting, flashing show of offense^ that Fortini 
meditated this very time attack. He desired of me a 
thrust and lunge, not that he might parry it, but that he 
might time it and deflect it by the customary slight turn 
of the wrist, his rapier-point directed to meet me as my 
body followed in the lunge. A ticklish thing — ay, a 
ticklish thing in the best of light. Did he deflect a frac- 



THE STAK EOVER 95 

tion of a second too early, I should be warned and saved. 
Did he deflect a fraction of a second too late, my thrust 
would go home to him. 

" Quick and brilliant is it ? " was my thought. " Very 
well, my Italian friend, quick and brilliant shall it be, 
and especially shall it be quick." 

In a way, it was time attack against time attack, but I 
would fool him on the time by being over-quick. And I 
was quick. As I said, we had been at work scarcely a min- 
ute when it happened. Quick ? That thrust and lunge of 
mine were one. A snap of action it was, an explosion, an 
instantaneousness. I swear my thrust and lunge were a 
fraction of a second quicker than any man is supposed to 
thrust and lunge. I won the fraction of a second. By 
that fraction of a second too late Fortini attempted to de- 
flect my blade and impale me on his. But it was his blade 
that was deflected. It flashed past my breast, and I was 
in — inside his weapon, which extended full length in the 
empty air behind me — and my blade was inside of him, 
and through him, heart-high, from right side of him to left 
side of him and outside of him beyond. 

It is a strange thing to do, to spit a live man on a lengtE 
of steel. I sit here in my cell, and cease from writing a 
space, while I consider the matter. And I have considered 
it often, that moonlight night in Erance of long ago, when 
I taught the Italian hound quick and brilliant. It was 
so easy a thing, that perforation of a torso. One would 
have expected more resistance. There would have been 
resistance had my rapier point touched bone. As it was, 
it encountered only the softness of flesh. Still it perfo- 
rated so easily. I have the sensation of it now, in my hand, 
my brain, as I write. A woman's hat-pin could go through 
a plum pudding not more easily than did my blade go 
through the Italian. Oh, there was nothing amazing about 
it at the time to Guillaume de Sainte-Maure, but amazing 



9« THE STAR ROVER 

it is to me, Darrell Standing, as I recollect and ponder it 
across tlie centuries. It is easy, most easy, to kill a strong, 
live, breathing man with so crude a weapon as a piece of 
Ajsteel. Why, men are like soft-shell crabs, so tender, frail, 
ipid vulnerable are they. 

But to return to the moonlight on the grass. My thrust 
made home, there was a perceptible pause. ]^ot at once 
did Fortini fall. 'Not at once did I withdraw the blade. 
For a full second we stood in pause — I, with legs spread, 
and arched and tense, body thrown forward, rijrht arm 
horizontal and straight out ; Fortini, his blade beyond me 
so far that hilt and hand just rested lightly against my left 
breast, his body rigid, his eyes open and shining. 

So statuesque were we for that second that I swear those 
iabout us were not immediately aware of what had hap- 
pened. Then Eortini gasped and coughed slightly. The 
rigidity of his pose slackened. The hilt and hand 
against my breast wavered, then the arm dropped to his 
side till the rapier point rested on the la^vti. By this time 
Pasquini and de Goncourt had sprung to him, and he was 
sinking into their arms. In faith, it was harder for me to 
withdraw the steel than to drive it in. His jflesh clung 
about it as if jealous to let it depart. Oh, believe me, it 
required a distinct physical effort to get clear of what I 
had done. 

But the pang of the withdrawal must have stung him 
back to life and purpose, for he shook off his friends, 
straightened himself, and lifted his rapier into position.. 
I, too, took position, marveling that it was possible I had 
spitted him heart-high and yet missed any vital spot. 
Then, and before his friends could catch him, his legs 
crumpled under him and he went heavily to grass. They 
laid him on his back, but he was already dead, his face 
ghastly still under the moon, his right hand still a-clutch 
of the rapier. 



THE STAE EOYER 97 

Yes; it is indeed a marvelons easy thing to kill a 
man. 

•We saluted his friends and were about to depart, when 
Felix Pasquini detained me. 

" Pardon me," I said. " Let it be to-morrow.'^ 

" We have but to move a step aside," he urged, " where 
the grass is still dry." 

" Let me then wet it for you, Sainte-Maure," Lanfranc 
asked of me, eager himself to do for an Italian. 

I shook my head. 

" Pasquini is mine," I answered. " He shall be first 
to-morrow." 

" Are there others ? " Lanfranc demanded. ' 

" Ask de Goncourt," I grinned. " I imagine he is al- 
ready laying claim to the honor of being the third." 

At this, de Goncourt showed distressed acquiescence. 
Lanfranc looked inquiry at him, and de Goncourt nodded. 

" And after him I doubt not comes the cockerel," I went 
on. 

And even as I spoke the red-haired Guy de Villehar- 
douin, alone, strode to us across the moonlit grass. 

" At least I shall have him," Lanfranc cried, his voice 
almost wheedling, so great was his desire. 

" Ask him," I laughed, then turned to Pasquini. " To- 
morrow," I said. " Do you name time and place, and I 
shall be there." 

" The grass is most excellent," he teased, " the place is 
most excellent, and I am minded that Fortini has you for 
company this night." 

" 'Twere better he were accompanied by a friend," I 
quipped. " And now, your pardon, for I must go." 

But he blocked my path. 

" Whoever it be," he said, " let it be now." 

For the first time, with him, my anger began to rise. 

" You serve your master well," I sneered. 



m THE STAR ROVER 

" I serve but my pleasure," was his answer. " Master 
I have none." 

" Pardon me, if I presume to tell you the truth," I said. 

" Which is ? " he queried softly. 

" That you are a liar, Pasquini, a liar like all Italians." 

He turned immediately to Lanfranc and Bohemond. 

" You heard," he said. " And after that you cannot 
deny me him." 

They hesitated and looked to me for counsel of my 
wishes. But Pasquini did not wait. 

" And if you still have any scruples," he hurried on, 
" then allow me to remove them . . . thus." 

And he spat in the grass at my feet. Then my anger 
seized me and was beyond me. The red wrath, I call it 
' — an overwhelming, all-mastering desire to kill and de- 
stroy. I forgot that Philippa waited for me in the great 
hall. All I knew was my wrongs — the unpardonable in- 
terference in my affairs by the gray old man, the errand of 
the priest, the insolence of Fortini, the impudence of 
[Villehardouin, and here Pasquini standing in my way and 
spitting in the grass. I saw red. I thought red. I 
looked upon all these creatures as rank and noisome 
growths that must be hewn out of my path, out of the 
world. As a netted lion may rage against the meshes, so 
raged I against these creatures. They were all about me. 
In truth, I was in the trap. The one way out was to cut 
them down, to crush them into the earth and stamp upon 
them. 

" Very well," I said, calmly enough, although my pas- 
sion was such that my frame shook. " You first, Pas- 
quini. — And you next, de Goncourt ? — And at the 
end, de Villehardouin ? " 

Each nodded in turn and Pasquini and I prepared to 
step aside. 

" Since you are in haste," Henry Bohemond proposed to 



THE STAR ROVER 99 

me, " and since there are three of them and three of us, 
S^hj not settle it at the one time ? " 

" Yes, jes," was Lanfranc's eager cry. " Do you take 
ide Goncourt. De Villehardouin for mine." 

But I waved my good friends back. 

" They are here by command," I explained. " It is I 
they desire so strongly that by my faith I have caught the 
contagion of their desire, so that now I want them and 
svill have them for myself." 

; I had observed that Pasquini fretted at my delay of 
speech-making, and I resolved to fret him further. 

" You, Pasquini," I announced, " I shall settle witH in 
short account. I would not that you tarried while Portini 
waits your companionship. — You, Raoul de Goncourt, 
I shall punish as you deserve for being in such bad com- 
pany. You are getting fat and wheezy. I shall take my 
time with you until your fat melts and your lungs pant 
and wheeze like leaky bellows. — You, de Villehardouin, 
I have not decided in what manner I shall kill." 

And then I saluted Pasquini, and we were at it. OE, 
I was minded to be rarely devilish this night. Quick and 
brilliant — that was the thing. ISTor was I unmindful of 
that deceptive moonlight. As with Portini, would I set- 
tle with him if he dared the time attack. If he did not, 
and quickly, then I would dare it. 

Despite the fret I had put him in, he was cautious. 
!N'evertheless I compelled the play to be rapid, and in the 
dim light, depending less than usual on sight and more 
than usual on feel, our blades were in continual touch. 

Barely was the first minute of play past, when I did the 
trick. I feinted a slight slip of the foot and, in the re- 
covery, feigned loss of touch with Pasquini's blade. He 
thrust tentatively, and again I feigned, this time making 
a needlessly wide parry. The consequent exposure of my- 
self was the bait I had purposely dangled to draw him on. 



100 THE STAR ROVER 

And draw him on I did. Like a flasli he took advantage 
of what he deemed an involuntary exposure. Straight and 
true was his thrust, and all his will and body were heartily 
in the weight of the lunge he made. And all had been 
feigned on my part and I was ready for him. Just lightly 
did my steel meet his as our blades slithered. And just 
firmly enough and no more did my wrist twist and deflect 
his blade on my basket hilt. — Oh, such a slight deflec- 
tion, a matter of inches, just barely sufBcient to send his 
point past me so that it pierced a fold of my satin doublet 
in passing. Of course, his body followed his rapier in the 
lunge, while, heart-high, right side, my rapier point met 
his body. And my outstretched arm was stiff and straight 
as the steel into which it elongated, and behind the arm 
and the steel my body was braced and solid. 

Heart-high, I say, my rapier entered Pasquini's side on 
the right, but it did not emerge on the left, for, well nigh 
through him, it met a rib (oh, man-killing is butcher's 
work) with such a will that the forcing overbalanced him, 
so that he fell part backward and part sidewise to the 
ground. And even as he fell, and ere he struck, with jerk 
and wrench I cleared my weapon of him. 

De Goncourt was to him, but he waved de Goneourt to 
attend on me. iN'ot so swiftly as Fortini did Pasquini 
pass. He coughed and spat, and, helped by de Villehar- 
douin, propped his elbow under him, rested his head on 
hand, and coughed and spat again. 

" A pleasant journey, Pasquini,'^ I laughed to him in 
my red anger, " Pray hasten, for the grass where you lie 
is become suddenly wet and if you linger you will catch 
your death of cold." 

When I made immediately to begin with de Goncourt, 
Bohemond protested that I rest a space. 

" Nay," I said. " I have not properly warmed up."' 



THE STAR ROVER 101 

And to de Goncourt, " ITow will we have you dance and 
yfheeze — Salute ! " 

De Goncourt's heart was not in the work. It was pat- 
ent that he fought under the compulsion of command. 
His play was old-fashioned, as any middle-aged man's is 
apt to be, but he was not an indifferent swordsman. He 
was cool, determined, dogged. But he was not brilliant, 
and he was oppressed with foreknowledge of defeat. A 
score of times, by quick and brilliant, he was mine. But 
I refrained. I have said that I was devilish-minded. In- 
deed I was. I wore him down. I backed him away from 
the moon so that he could see little of me because I fought 
in my own shadow. And while I wore him down until he 
began to wheeze as I had predicted, Pasquini, head on 
hand and watching, coughed and spat out his life. 

" Now, de Goncourt," I announced finally. " You see 
I have you quite helpless. You are mine in any of a 
dozen ways. Be ready, brace yourself, for this is the way 
I win." 

And, so saying, I merely went from carte to tierce, and, 
as he recovered wildly and parried widely, I returned to 
carte, took the opening, and drove home heart-high and 
through and through. And at sight of the conclusion, 
Pasquini let go his hold on life, buried his face in the grass, 
quivered a moment, and lay still. 

" Your master will be four servants short this night," 
I assured de Yillehardouin, in the moment just ere we 
engaged. 

And such an engagement ! The boy was ridiculous. 
In what bucolic school of fence ho had been taught was 
beyond imagining. He was downright clownish. " Short 
work and simple," was my judgment, while his red hair 
seemed a-bristle with very rage and while he pressed me 
like a madman. 



102 THE STAB EOVER 

Alas! It was his clownisliness that undid me. When 
I had played with him and laughed at him for a handful 
of seconds for the clumsy boor he was, he became so an- 
gered that he forgot the worse than little fence he knew. 
With an arm-wide sweep of his rapier, as though it bore 
heft and a cutting edge, he whistled it through the air and 
rapped it down on my crown. I was in amaze. Never 
had so absurd a thing happened to me. He was wide open, 
and I could have run him through forthright. But as I 
said, I was in amaze, and the next I knew was the pang 
of the entering steel as this clumsy provincial ran me 
through and charged forward, bull-like, till his hilt bruised 
my side and I was borne backward. 

As I fell, I could see the concern on the faces of Lan- 
f ranc and Bohemond and the glut of satisfaction in the face 
of de Villehardouin as he pressed me. 

I was falling, but I never reached the grass. Came a! 
blurr of flashing lights, a thunder in my ears, a darkness, 
a glimmering of dim light slowly da"\vning, a wrenching, 
racking pain beyond all describing, and then I heard the 
yoice of one who said : 

" I can't feel anything." 

I knew the voice. It was Warden Atherton's. And I 
knew myself for Darrell Standing, just returned across the 
centuries to the jacket hell of San Quentin. And I knew 
the touch of finger-tips on my neck was Warden Ather- 
ton's. And I knew the finger-tips that displaced his were 
Doctor Jackson's. And it was Doctor Jackson's voice that 
said: 

" You don't know how to take a man's pulse from the 
neck. There — right there — put your fingers where 
mine are. D'ye get it ? Ah, I thought so. Heart weak,; 
but steady as a chronometer." 

" It's only twenty-four hours," Captain Jamie said, 
*' and he was never in like condition before." 



THE STAK ROVER 103 

" Putting it on, that's what he's doing, and you can 
stack on that," Al Hutchins, the head trusty, inter- 
jected. 

" I don't know," Captain Jamie insisted. " When a 
man's pulse is that low it takes an expert to find it. . . ." 

" Aw, I served my apprenticeship in the jacket," Al 
Hutchins sneered. " And I've made you unlace me, Cap- 
tain, when you thought I was croaking, and it was all I 
could do to keep from snickering in your face." 

" What do you think, Doc ? " Warden Atherton asked. 

" I tell you the heart action is splendid," was the answer. 
" Of course it is weak. That is only to be expected. I 
tell you Hutchins is right. The man is feigning." 

With his thumb he turned up one of my eyelids, whereat 
I opened my other eye and gazed up at the group bending 
over me. 

" What did I tell you ? " was Doctor Jackson's cry of 
triumph. 

And then, although it seemed the effort must crack my 
face, I simimoned all the will of me and smiled. 

They held water to my lips, and I drank greedily. It 
must be remembered that all this while I lay helpless on 
my back, my arms pinioned along with my body inside the 
jacket. When they offered me food — dry prison bread 
— I shook my head. I closed my eyes in advertisement 
that I was tired of their presence. The pain of my partial 
resuscitation was unbearable. I could feel my body com- 
ing to life. Do\vn the cords of my neck and into my patch 
of chest over the heart darting pains were making their 
way. And in my brain the memory was strong that Phi- 
lippa waited me in the big hall, and I was desirous to escape 
away back to the half a day and half a night I had just 
lived in old France. 

So it was, even as they stood about me, that I strove to 
eliminate the live portion of my body from my conscious- 



104 THE STAR EOVEE 

ness. I was in haste to depart, bnt Warden Atherton'a 
voice held me back. 

" Is there anything you want to complain about ? " be 
asked. 

'Now I had but one fear, namely, that they would unlace 
me; so that it must be understood that my reply was not 
uttered in braggadocio, but was meant to forestall any pos- 
sible unlacing. 

" You might make the jacket a little tighter," I whis- 
pered. " It's too loose for comfort. I get lost in it. 
Hutchins is stupid. He is also a fool. He doesn't know 
the first thing about lacing the jacket. Warden, you ought 
to put him in charge of the loom-room. He is a more pro- 
found master of inefficiency than the present incumbent, 
who is merely stupid without being a fool as well. 
— ISTow get out, all of you, unless you can think of worse to 
do to me. In which case, by all means remain. I invite 
you heartily to remain, if you think in your feeble imag- 
inings that you have devised fresh torture for me." 

" He's a wooz, a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool wooz," Doc- 
tor Jackson chanted, with the medico's delight in a novelty. 

" Standing, you are a wonder," the warden said. 
" You've got an iron wiU, but I'll break it as sure as God 
made little apples." 

" And you've the heart of a rabbit," I retorted. " One- 
tenth the jacketing I have received in San Quentin would 
have squeezed your rabbit heart out of your long ears." 

Oh, it was a touch, that, for the warden did have un- 
usual ears. They would have interested Lombroso, I am 
sure. 

' " As for me," I went on, " I laugh at you, and I wisK 
no worse fate to the loom-room than that you should take 
charge of it yourself. Why, you've got me down and 
worked your wickedest on me, and still I live and laugh in 
your face. Inefficient? You can't even kill me. Inef- 



THE STAE EOVER 105 

ficient ? You couldn't kill a cornered rat with a stick of 
dynamite — real dynamite, and not the sort you are de- 
luded into believing I have hidden away." 

" Anything more ? " he demanded, when I had ceased 
from my diatribe. I 

And into my mind flashed what I had told Fortini when 
he pressed his insolence on me. 

" Begone, you prison cur," I said. " Take your yap- 
ping from my door." -^^ 

It must have been a terrible thing for a man of Warden 
Atherton's stripe to be thus bearded by a helpless prisoner. 
His face whitened with rage and his voice shook as he 
threatened : 

^' By God, Standing, I'll do for you yet." 

*' There is only one thing you can do," I said. " You 
can tighten this distressingly loose jacket. If you won't, 
then get out. And I don't care if you fail to come back 
for a week or for the whole ten days." 

And what can even the warden of a great prison do in 
reprisal on a prisoner upon whom the ultimate reprisal 
has already been wreaked ? It may be that Warden Ather- 
ton thought of some possible threat, for he began to speak. 
But my voice had strengthened with the exercise, and I 
began to sing, " Sing cucu, sing cucu, sing cucu." And 
sing I did until my door clanged and the bolts and locks 
squeaked and grated fast. 



r 



CHAPTEK XII 

'Now that I had learned the trick, the way was easy. 
[A.nd I knew the way was bound to become easier the more 
I traveled it. Once establish a line of least resistance, 
every succeeding journey along it will find still less re-' 
sistance. And so, as you shall see, my journeys from San 
Quentin life into other lives, were achieved almost auto- 
matically as time went by. 

After Warden Atherton and his crew had left me, it 
was a matter of minutes to will the resuscitated portion of 
my body back into the little death. Death in life it was, 
but it was only the little death, similar to the temporary^ 
death produced by an anesthetic. 

' And so, from all that was sordid and vile, from brutal 
solitary and jacket hell, from acquainted flies and sweats 
of darkness and the knuckle-talk of the living dead, I was 
away at a bound into time and space. 

Came the duration of darkness, and the slow-growing 
iawareness of other things and of another self. First of 
all, in this awareness, was dust. It was in my nostrils, 
dry and acrid. It was on my lips. It coated my face, 
my hands, and especially was it noticeable on the finger- 
tips when touched by the ball of my thumb. 

Next, I was aware of ceaseless movement. All that was 
about me lurched and oscillated. There was jolt and jar, 
and I heard what I knew as a matter of course to be the 
grind of wheels on axles and the grate and clash of iron 
tires against rock and sand. And there came to me the 
jaded voices of men, in curse and snarl of slow-plodding, 
jaded animals. 

106 



THE STAE EOYER 107 

I opened my eyes, tliat were inflamed with dust, and im- 
mediately fresh dust bit into them. On the coarse blankets 
on which I lay the dust was half an inch thick. Above 
me, through sifting dust, I saw an arched roof of lurch- 
ing, swaying canvas, and myriads of dust motes descended 
heavily in the shafts of sunshine that entered through 
holes in the canvas. 

I was a child, a boy of eight or nine, and I was weary, 
as was the woman, dusty-visaged and haggard, who sat 
up beside me and soothed a crying babe in her arms. She 
was my mother ; that I knew as a matter of course, just as 
I knew, when I glanced along the canvas tunnel of the 
wagon-top, that the shoulders of the man on the driver's 
seat were the shoulders of my father. 

When I started to crawl along the packed gear witli 
which the wagon was laden, my mother said in a tired and 
querulous voice, " Can't you ever be still a minute, Jesse ? " 

That was my name, Jesse. I did not know my surname, t ^ 
though I heard my mother call my father John. I have a • 
dim recollection of hearing, at one time or another, the 
other men address my father as captain. I knew that he 
was ■l"he leader of this company, and that his orders were 
obeyed by all. 

I crawled out through the opening in the canvas and sat 
down beside my father on the seat. The air was stifling 
with the dust that rose from the wagons and the many 
hoofs of the animals. So thick was the dust that it was 
like mist or fog in the air, and the low sun shone through 
it dimly and with a bloody light. 

Not alone was the light of this setting sun ominous, but 
everything about me seemed ominous — the landscape, my 
father's face, the fret of the babe in my mother's arms that 
she could not still, the six horses my father drove that had 
continually to be urged and that were without any sign 
of color so heavily had the dust settled on them. 



108 THE STAE EOVER 

The landscape was an aching, eye-hurting desolation. 
Low hills stretched endlessly away on every hand. Here 
and there only on their slopes were occasional scrub 
growths of heat-parched brush. For the most part, the 
surface of the hills was naked-dry and composed of sand 
and rock. Our way followed the sand-bottoms between the 
hills. And the sand-bottoms were bare, save for spots of 
scrub, with here and there short tufts of dry and withered 
grass. Water there was none, nor sign of water, except 
for washed gullies that told of ancient and torrential 
rains. 

' My father was the only one who had horses to his 
[wagon. The wagons went in single file, and as the train 
■wound and curved, I saw that the other wagons were drawn 
by oxen. Three or four yoke of oxen strained and pulled 
iweakly at each wagon, and beside them, in the deep sand, 
walked men with ox-goads who prodded the unwilling 
beasts along. On a curve I counted the wagons ahead and 
behind. I knew that there were forty of them, including 
our own ; for often I had counted them before. And as I 
counted them now, as a child will to while away tedium, 
they were all there, forty of them, all canvas-topped, big 
and massive, crudely fashioned, pitching and lurching, 
grinding and jarring over sand and sage brush and rock. 

To right and left of us, scattered along the train, rode 
a dozen or fifteen men and youths on horses. Across their i 
pommels were long-barreled rifles. Whenever any of them 
drew near to our wagon, I could see that their faces, under 
the dust, were drawn and anxious like my father's. And 
my father, like them, had a long-barreled rifle close to hand 
as he drove. 

Also, to one side, limped a score or more of footsore, 
yoke-galled, skeleton oxen, that ever paused to nip at the 
occasional tufts of withered grass, and that ever were 
prodded on by the tired-faced youths who herded them.. 



THE STAR EOVER 109 

Sometimes, one or another of these oxen would pause and 
low, and such lowing seemed as ominous as all else about 
me. 

Ear, far away, I have a memory of having lived, a 
smaller lad, by the tree-lined banks of a stream. And as 
the wagon jolts along and I sway on the seat with my 
father, I continually return and dwell upon that pleasant 
water flowing between the trees. I have a sense that for 
an interminable period I have lived in a wagon and 
traveled on, ever on, with this present company. 

But strongest of all upon me is what is strong upon all 
the company, namely, a sense of drifting to doom. Our 
way was like a funeral march. Never did a laugh arise. 
Never did I hear a happy tone of voice. Neither peace 
nor ease marched with us. The faces of the men and 
youths who outrode the train were grim, set, hopeless. 
And as we toiled through the lurid dust of sunset, often I 
scanned my father's face in vain quest of some message of 
cheer. I will not say that my father's face, in all its 
dusty haggardness, was hopeless. It was dogged, and, oh, 
so grim, and anxious, most anxious. 

A thrill seemed to run along the train. My father's 
head went up. So did mine. And our horses raised their 
weary heads, scented the air with long-drawn snorts, and 
for the nonce pulled willingly. The horses of the out- 
riders quickened their pace. And as for the herd of scare- 
crow oxen, it broke into a forthright gallop. It was almost 
ludicrous. The poor brutes were so clumsy in their weak- 
ness and haste. They were galloping skeletons draped in 
mangy hides, and they outdistanced the boys who herded 
them. But this was only for a time. Then they fell back 
to a walk, a quick, eager, shambling, sore-footed walk; 
and they no longer were lured aside by the dry bunch- 
grass. 

" What is it ? " my mother asked from within the wagon. 



110 THE STAK KOVER 

" Water," was mj father's reply. " It must be 
Kephi." 

And my mother : " Thank God ! And perhaps they 
will sell us food." 

And into Nephi, through blood-red dust, with grind and 
grate and jolt and jar, our great wagons rolled. A dozen 
scattered dwellings or shanties composed the place. The 
landscape was much the same as that through which we 
had passed. There were no trees, only scrub growths and 
sandy bareness. But here were signs of tilled fields, with 
here and there a fence. Also, there was water. Down 
the stream ran no current. The bed, however, was damp, 
with now and again a water-hole into which the loose oxen 
and the saddle horses stamped and plunged their muzzles 
to the eyes. Here, too, grew an occasional small willow. 

" That must be Bill Black's mill they told us about," 
my father said, pointing out a building to my mother, 
whose anxiousness had drawn her to peer out over our 
shoulders. 

An old man, with buckskin shirt and long, matted, sun- 
burnt hair, rode back to our wagon and talked with father. 
The signal was given, and the head wagons of the train 
began to deploy in a circle. The ground favored the evo- 
lution, and, from long practice, it was accomplished with- 
out a hitch, so that when the forty wagons were finally 
halted they formed a circle. All was bustle and orderly 
confusion. Many women, all tired-faced and dusty like 
my mother, emerged from the wagons. Also, poured forth 
a very horde of children. There must have been at least 
fifty children, and it seemed I knew them all of long time ; 
and there were at least two score of women. These went 
about the preparations for cooking supper. 

While some of the men chopped sagebrush, and we chil- 
<iren carried it to the fires that were kindling, other men 



THE STAE EOVER 111' 

unyoked the oxen and let them stampede for water. !N'ext, 
the men, in big squads, moved the wagons snugly into 
place. The tongue of each wagon was on the inside of the 
circle, and, front and rear, each wagon was in solid con- 
tact with the next wagon before and behind. The great 
brakes were locked fast; but, not content with this, the 
wheels of all the wagons were connected with chains. This 
was nothing new to us children. It was the trouble sign 
of a camp in hostile country. One wagon only was left 
out of the circle, so as to form a gate to the corral. Later 
on, as we knew, ere the camp slept, the animals would be 
driven inside, and the gate-wagon would be chained like 
the others in place. In the meanwhile, and for hours, the 
animals would be herded by men and boys to what scant 
grass they could find. 

While the camp-making went on, my father, with several 
others of the men including the old man with the long, 
sunburnt hair, went away on foot in the direction of the 
mill. I remember that all of us, men, women, and even the 
children, paused to watch them depart ; and it seemed their 
errand was of grave import. 

While they were away, other men, strangers, inhabitants 
of desert Nephi, came into camp and stalked about. They 
were white men, like us, but they were hard-faced, stern- 
faced, somber, and they seemed angry with all our com- 
pany. Bad feeling was in the air, and they said things 
calculated to rouse the tempers of our men. But the warn- 
ing went out from the women, and was passed on every- 
where to our men and youths, that there must be no words. 

One of the strangers came to our fire, where my mother 
was alone cooking. I had just come up with an armful of 
sagebrush, and I stopped to listen and to stare at the in- 
truder whom I hated because it was in the air to hate, 
because I knew that every last person in our company; 



'\. - 



112 THE STAR ROVER 

hated these strangers who were white-skinned like us and 
because of whom we had been compelled to make our camp 
in a circle. 

This stranger at our fire had blue eyes, hard and cold 
and piercing. His hair was sandy. His face was shaven 
to the chin, and from under the chin, covering the neck 
and extending to the ears, sprouted a sandy fringe of 
whiskers well-streaked with gray. Mother did not greet 
him, nor did he greet her. He merely stood and glowered 
at her for some time. Then he cleared his throat and said 
:with a sneer: 

" Wisht you was back in Missouri right now, I bet." 

I saw mother tighten her lips in self-control ere she an- 
swered : 

" We are from Arkansas." 
. " I guess you've got good reasons to deny where you 
jjome from," he next said, " you that drove the Lord's 
shosen people from Missouri." 

Mother made no reply. 

"... Seein'," he went on, after the pause accorded 
her, " as you're now comin' a-whinin' an' a-beggin' bread 
at our hands that you persecuted." 

' Whereupon, and instantly, child that I was, I knew 
anger, the old, red, intolerant wrath, ever unrestrainable 
and unsubduable. 

" You lie ! " I piped up. " We ain't Missourians. We 
ain't whinin'. An' we ain't beggars. We got the money 
to buy." 

" Shut up, Jesse ! " my mother cried, landing the back 
iof her hand stingingly on my mouth. And then, to the 
stranger, " Go away and let the boy alone." 

" I'll shoot you full of lead, you damned Mormon ! " I 
screamed and sobbed at him, too quick for my mother this 
time and dancing away around the fire from the back- 
sweep of her hand. 



THE STAE ROVER 113 

'As for the man himself, my conduct had not disturbed 
him in the slightest. I was prepared for I knew not what 
violent visitation from this terrible stranger, and I watched 
him warily while he considered me with the utmost grav- 
ity. 

At last he spoke, and he spoke solemnly, with solemn 
shaking of the head, as if delivering a judgment. 

" Like fathers like sons," he said. " The young genera- 
tion is as bad as the older. The whole breed is unre- 
generate and damned. There is no saving it, the young 
or the old. There is no atonement. JSTot even the blood of 
Christ can wipe out its iniquities." 

" Damned Mormon ! " was all I could sob at him. , , 
" Damned Mormon ! Damned Mormon ! Damned Mor- ^ 
mon ! " 

And I continued to damn him and to dance around the 
fire before my mother's avenging hand, until he strode 
away. 

When my father, and the men who had accompanied 
him, returned, camp-work ceased, while all crowded anx- 
iously about him. He shook his head. 

" They will not sell ? " some woman demanded. 

Again he shook his head. 

A man spoke up, a blue-eyed, blond-whiskered giant of 
thirty, who abruptly pressed his way into the center of the 
crowd. 

" They say they have flour and provisions for three ,' 
years, Captain," he said. " They have always sold to the! 
immigration before. And now they won't sell. And it| 
ain't our quarrel. Their quarrel's with the government, 
an' they're takin' it out on us. It ain't right. Captain, j -i' 
It ain't right, I say, us with our women an' children, an' 
California months away, winter comin' on, an' nothin' but 
desert in between. We ain't got the grub to face the 
desert." 



114 .THE STAR EOVER 

He broke off for a moment to address the whole crowd. 

" Why, you-all don't know what desert is. This around 
here ain't desert. I tell you it's paradise, and heavenly 
pasture, an' flowin' with milk an' honey alongside what 
we're goin' to face. 

" I tell you, Captain, we got to get flour first. If they 
won't sell it, then we must just up an' take it." 

Many of the men and women began crying out in ap- 
proval, but my father hushed them by holding up his 
hand. 

" I agree with everything you say, Hamilton," he began. 

But the cries now drowned his voice, and he again held 
up his hand. 

" Excej^t one thing you forgot to take into account, 
Hamilton — a thing that you and all of us must take into 
account. Brigham Young has declared martial law, and 
Brigham Young has an army. We could wipe out N'ephi 
in the shake of a lamb's tail and take all the provisions 
we can carry. But we wouldn't carry them very far. 
Brigham's Saints would be down upon us and we would 
be wiped out in another shake of a lamb's tail. You know: 
it. I know it. We all know it." 

His words carried conviction to listeners already con- 
vinced. What he had told them was old news. They had 
merely forgotten it in a flurry of excitement and desperate 
need. 

" ISTobody will fight quicker for what is right than I 
will," father continued. " But it just happens we can't 
afford to fight now. If ever a ruction starts we haven't 
a chance. And we've all got our women and children to 
recollect. We've got to be peaceable at any price, and 
put up with whatever dirt is heaped on us." 

" But what will we do with the desert coming ? " cried 
a woman who nursed a babe at her breast. 

" There's several settlements before we come to the 



THE STAE ROVER 115, 

desert," father answered. " Eillmore's sixty miles south\i 
Then comes Corn Creek. And Beaver's another fifty; 
miles. Next is Parowan. Then it's twenty miles to 
Cedar City. The farther we get away from Salt Lake the 
more likely they'll sell us provisions." 

" And if they won't ? " the same woman persisted. 

'^ Then we're quit of them," said my father. " Cedar 
City is the last settlement. We'll have to go on, that's all, 
and thank our stars we are quit of them. Two days' 
journey beyond is good pasture and water. They call it 
Mountain Meadows. Nobody lives there, and that's the 
place we'll rest our cattle and feed them up before we tackle 
the desert. Maybe we can shoot some meat. And if the 
worst comes to the worst, we'll keep going as long as we 
can, then abandon the wagons, pack what we can on our 
animals, and make the last stages on foot. We can eat 
our cattle as we go along. It would be better to arrive in 
California without a rag to our backs than to leave our 
bones here; and leave them we will if we start a ruction." 

With final reiterated warnings against violence of speech 
or act, the impromptu meeting broke up. I was slow in 
falling asleep that night. My rage against the Mormon 
had left my brain in such a tingle that I was still awake 
when my father crawled into the wagon after a last round 
of the night-watch. They thought I slept, but I heard 
mother ask him if he thought that the Mormons would let 
us depart peacefully from their land. His face was turned 
aside from her as he busied himself with pulling off a boot, 
while he answered her with hearty confidence that he was 
sure the Mormons would let us go if none of our own com- 
pany started trouble. 

But I saw his face at that moment in the light of a small 
tallow dip, and in it was none of the confidence that was 
in his voice. So it was that I fell asleep, oppressed by the 
dire fate that seemed to overhang us, and pondering upon 



itl6 THE STAE EOVER 

[Brigham Young who bulked in my child imagination as a 
fearful, malignant being, a very devil with horns and 
tail and all. 

And I awoke to the old pain of the jacket in solitary. 
'About me were the customary four: Warden Atherton, 
Captain Jamie, Doctor Jackson, and Al Hutchins. I 
cracked my face with my willed smile, and struggled not 
to lose control under the exquisite torment of returning 
circulation. I drank the water they held to me, waved 
aside the proffered bread, and refused to speak. I closed 
my eyes and strove to win back to the chain-locked wagon- 
circle at Nephi. But so long as my visitors stood about me 
and talked I could not escape. 

One snatch of conversation I could not tear myself awayj 
from hearing. 

" Just as yesterday," Doctor Jackson said. " ^6 
change one way or the other." 

" Then he can go on standing it ? " Warden Atherton 
queried. 

" Without a quiver. The next twenty-four hours as 
easy as the last. He's a wooz, I tell you, a perfect wooz. 
If I didn't know it was impossible, I'd say he was doped." 

" I know his dope," said the warden. " It's that cursed 
will of his. I'd bet, if he made up his mind, that ho 
could walk barefoot across red-hot stones like those Kanaka 
priests from the South Seas." 

'Now perhaps it was the word " priests " that I carried 
away with me through the darkness of another flight in 
time. Perhaps it was the cue. More probably it was a 
mere coincidence. At any rate I awoke, lying upon a 
P" rough rocky floor, and found myself on my back, my arms 
crossed in such fashion that each elbow rested in the palm 
of the opposite hand. As I lay there, eyes closed, half 
awake, I rubbed my elbows with my palms and found 



THE STAK ROVER 117 

that I was rubbing prodigious callouses. There was no 
surprise in this. I accepted the callouses as of long time 
and a matter of course. 

I opened my eyes. My shelter was a small cave, no 
more than three feet in height and a dozen in length. It 
was very hot in the cave. Perspiration noduled the entire " 
surface of my body. ISTow and again several nodules 
coalesced and formed tiny rivulets. I wore no clothing 
save a filthy rag about the middle. My skin was burned 
to a mahogany brown. I was very thin, and I contem- 
plated my thinness with a strange sort of pride, as if it 
were an achievement to be so thin. Especially was I 
enamored of my painfully prominent ribs. The very 
sight of the hollows between them gave me a sense of 
solemn elation, or, rather, to use a better word, of sancti- 
fication. 

My knees were calloused like my elbows. I was very 
'dirty. My beard, evidently once blond, but now a dirt- 
stained and streaky brown, swept my midriff in a tangled 
mass. My long hair, similarly stained and tangled, was all 
about my shoulders, while wisps of it continually strayed 
in the way of my vision so that sometimes I was compelled 
to brush it aside with my hands. Eor the most part, how- 
ever, I contented myself with peering through it like a 
wild animal from a thicket. 

Just at the tunnel-like moutH of my dim cave the day 
reared itself in a wall of blinding sunshine. After a time 
I crawled to the entrance, and, for the sake of greater dis- 
comfort, lay down in the burning sunshine on a narrow 
ledge of rock. It positively baked me, that terrible sun, 
and the more it hurt me the more I delighted in it, or in 
myself rather, in that I was thus the master of my flesh 
and superior to its claims and remonstrances. When I 
found under me a particularly sharp, but not too sharp, 
rock-projection, I ground my body upon the point of it, 



118 THE STAE EOVER 

roweled my flesh in a very ecstasy of mastery and of puri- 
fication. 

It was a stagnant day of heat. ISTot a breath of air 
moved over the river valley on which I sometimes gazed. 
Hundreds of feet beneath me the wide river ran sluggishly. 
The farther shore was flat and sandy and stretched away to 
the horizon. Above the water were scattered clumps of 
palm trees. 

On my side, eaten into a curve by the river, were lofty, 
crumbling cliffs. Farther along the curve, in plain view 
from my eyrie, carved out of the living rock, were four 
colossal figures. It was the stature of a man to their 
ankle joints. The four colossi sat, with hands resting on 
knees, with arms crumbled quite away, and gazed out upon 
the river. At least, three of them so gazed. Of the 
fourth, all that remained was the lower limbs to the knees 
and the huge hands resting on the knees. At the feet of 
this one, ridiculously small, crouched a sphinx; yet this 
sphinx was taller than I. 

I looked upon these carven images with contempt, and 
spat as I looked. I knew not what they were, whether for- 
gotten gods or unremembered kings. But to me they were 
representative of the vanity and futility of earth men and 
earth aspirations. 

And over all this curve of river and sweep of water and 
wide sands beyond, arched a sky of aching brass unflecked 
by the tiniest cloud. 

The hours passed while I roasted in the sun. Often, 
for quite decent intervals, I forgot my heat and pain in 
dreams and visions and in memories. All this, I knew — • 
crumbling colossi, and river and sand and sun and brazen 
sky — was to pass away in the twinkling of an eye. At 
any moment the trumps of the archangels might sound, the 
stars fall out of the sky, the heavens roll up as a scroll. 



THE STAE ROVER 119 

and the Lord God of all come with his hosts for the final 
Judgment. 

Ah, I knew it so profoundly that I was ready for sucli '\ 
sublime event. That was why I was here in rags and filth 
and wretchedness. I was meek and lowly, and I despised 
the frail needs and passions of the flesh. And I thought 'I 
with contempt, and with a certain satisfaction, of the far i 
cities of the plain I had known, all unheeding, in their j 
pomp and lust, of the last day so near at hand. Well, | 
they would see soon enough but too late for them. And! 
I should see. But I was ready. And to their cries andf—V 
lamentations would I arise, reborn and glorious, and take 
my well-earned and rightful place in the City of God. 

At times, between dreams and visions in which I was 
verily and before my time in the City of God, I conned 
over in my mind old discussions and controversies. Yes, 
[^^ovatus was right in his contention that penitent apos- 
tates should never again be received into the churches, ^v 
Also, there was no doubt that Sabellianism was conceivedJ 
of the devil. So was Constantine, the arch-fiend, the!\ 
devil's right hand. j 

Continually I returned to contemplation of the nature^ 
of the unity of God, and went over and over the conten- 
tions of Xoetus, the Syrian. Better, however, did I like 
the contentions of my beloved teacher, Arius. Truly, if 
human reason could determine anything at all, there must 
have been a time, in the very nature of sonship, when the 
Son did not exist. In the nature of sonship there must 
have been a time when the Son commenced to exist. A 
father must be older than his son. To hold otherwise were 
a blasphemy and a belittlement of God. 

And I remembered back to my young days when I had 
sat at the feet of Arius, who had been a presbyter of the 
city of Alexandria, and who had been robbed of the 



120 THE STAR EOVER 

bishopric by the blasphemous and heretical Alexander, 
Alexander the Sabellianite, that is what he was, and his 
feet had fast hold of hell. 

Yes, I had been to the Council of Nicea, and seen it 
avoid the issue. And I remembered when the Emperor 
Constantine had banished Arius for his uprightness. And 
I remembered when Constantine repented for reasons of 
state and policy and commanded Alexander — the other 
Alexander, thrice cursed, Bishop of Constantinople — to 
receive Arius into communion on the morrow. And that 
very night did not Arius die on the street ? They said it 
was a violent sickness visited upon him in answer to Alex- 
ander's prayer to God. But I said, and so said all we 
Arians, that the violent sickness was due to a poison, and 
that the poison was due to Alexander himself, Bishop of 
Constantinople and devil's poisoner. 

And here I ground my body back and forth on the sharp 
stones, and muttered aloud, drunken with conviction : 

" Let the Jews and Pagans mock. Let them triumph, 
for their time is short. And for them there will be no 
time after time." 

I talked to myself aloud a great deal on that rocky shelf 
overlooking the river. I was feverish, and on occasion I 
drank sparingly of water from a stinking goatskin. This 
goatskin I kept hanging in the sun that the stench of the 
skin might increase and that there might be no refresh- 
ment of coolness in the water. Eood there was, lying in 
the dirt on my cave-floor — a few roots and a chunk of 
moldy barley-cake ; and hungry I was, although I did not 
eat. 

All I did that blessed, livelong day, was to sweat and 
swelter in the sun, mortify my lean flesh upon the rock, 
gaze out on the desolation, resurrect old memories, dream 
dreams, and mutter my convictions aloud. 

And when the sun set, in the swift twilight I took si 



THE STAR EOVER 121 

last look at the world so soon to pass. About the feet of 
the colossi I could make out the creeping forms of beasts 
that laired in the once proud works of men. And to the 
snarls of the beasts I crawled into my hole, and, mutter- 
ing and dozing, visioning fevered fancies and praying that 
the last day come quickly, I ebbed down into the darkness 
of sleep. 

Consciousness came back to me in solitary, with the 
c[uartet of torturers about me. 

" Blasphemous and heretical warden of San Quentin 
■whose feet have fast hold of hell," I gibed, after I had 
drunk deep of the water they held to my lips. " Let the 
jailers and the trusties triumph. Their time is short, and 
for them there is no time after time." 

" He's out of his head," Warden Atherton affirmed. 

" He's putting it over on you," was Doctor Jackon's 
surer judgment. 

" But he refuses food," Captain Jamie protested. 

" Huh, he could fast forty days and not hurt himself," 
'the doctor answered. 

" And I have," I said, " and forty nights as well. Do 
me the favor to tighten the jacket and then get out of 
here." 

The head trusty tried to insert his forefinger inside the 
lacing. 

" You couldn't get a quarter of an inch of slack witK 
block and tackle," he assured them. 

" Have you any complaint to make. Standing ? " tHo 
[warden asked. 

" Yes," was my reply. " On two counts." 

" What are they ? "• 

" First," I said, " the jacket is abominably loose. 
Hutchins is an ass. He could get a foot of slack if ho 
[wanted." 



122 THE STAE EOVER 

" What is the other count ? " Warden Atherton asked. 
" That you are conceived of the devil, Warden." 
Captain Jamie and Doctor Jackson tittered, and the 
svarden, with a snort, led the way out of my cell. 

Left alone, I strove to go into the dark and gain back to 
.the wagon circle at jSTephi. I was interested to know the 
outcome of that doomed drifting of our forty great wagona 
across a desolate and hostile land, and I was not at all in- 
terested in what came of the mangy hermit with his rock- 
roweled ribs and stinking water-skin. And I gained back, 
neither to Nephi nor the iN ile, but to — 

But here I must pause the narrative, my reader, in 
order to explain a few things and make the whole matter 
easier to your comprehension. This is necessary, because 
my time is short in which to complete my jacket-memoirs. 
In a little while, in a very little while, they are going to 
take me out and hang me. Did I have the full time of a 
thousand lifetimes, I could not complete the last details of 
my jacket experiences. Wherefore, I must brief en the 
narrative. 

First of all, Bergson is right. Life cannot be explained 
m intellectual terms. As Confucius said long ago: 
P When we are so ignorant of life, can we know death ? " 
jAnd ignorant of life we truly are when we cannot explain 
^ / it in terms of the understanding. We know life only 
phenomenally, as a savage may know a dynamo; but we 
know nothing of life noumenonally, nothing of the nature 
of the intrinsic stuif of life. 

Secondly, Marinetti is wrong when he claims that mat- 
ter is the only mystery and the only reality. I say, and 
as you, my reader, realize, I speak with authority — I say 
'\ that matter is the only illusion. Compte called the world, 
Iw^hich is tantamount to matter, the great fetich, and I 
{agree with Compte. 



THE STAK EOVER 123 

It is life that is the reality and the mystery. Life is 
vastly different from mere chemic matter fluxing in high 
modes of motion. Life persists. Life is the thread of 
fire that persists through all the modes of matter. I know* 
I am life. I have lived ten thousand generations. I have 
lived millions of years. I have possessed many bodies. 
I, the possessor of these many bodies, have persisted. li 
am life. I am the unquenched spark ever flashing and 
astonishing the face of time, ever -working my will and 
wreaking my passion on the cloddy aggregates of matter^ 
called bodies, which I have transiently inhabited. 

For look you. This finger of mine, so quick with sen- 
sation, so subtle to feel, so delicate in its multifarious 
dexterities, so firm and strong to crook and bend or stiffen 
by means of cunning leverages — this finger is not L Cut 
it off. I live. The body is mutilated. I am not muti-f 
lated. The spirit that is I, is whole. 

(Very well. Cut off all my fingers. I am 1. TEe 
spirit is entire. Cut off both hands. Cut off both a 
at the shoulder-sockets. Cut off both legs at the hi 
sockets. And I, the unconquerable and indestructible I, 
survive. Am I any the less for these mutilations, foi^ 
these subtractions of the flesh ? Certainly not. Clip my 
hair. Shave from me with sharp razors my lips, my nose, 
my ears — ay, and tear out the eyes of me by the roots ; 
and there, mewed in that featureless skull that is attached 
to a hacked and mangled torso, there in that cell of the 
chemic flesh, will still be I, unmutilated, undiminished. 

Oh, the heart still beats. Very well. Cut out the 
heart, or, better, fling the flesh-remnant into a machine of 
a thousand blades and make mince meat of it — and I, I, 
don't you understand, all the spirit and the mystery and 
the vital fire and life of me, ann off and away. I have not 
perished. Only the body has perished, and the body is 
not L 



•^ 



J 



-V 



124: THE STAR EOYER 

I believe Colonel de Eochas was correct when He asserted 
tliat under the compulsion of his will he sent the girl 
Josephine, while she was in hypnotic trance, back through 
the eighteen years she had lived, back through the silence 
and the dark ere she had been born, back to the light of a 
previous living when she was a bed-ridden old man, the 
ex-artilleryman, Jean-Claude Bourdon. And I believe 
that Colonel de Eochas did truly hypnotize this resurrected 
shade of the old man and, by compulsion of will, send him 
back through the seventy years of his life, back into the 
dark and through the dark into the light of day when he 
had been the wicked old woman, Philomene Carteron. 

Already, have I not shown you, my reader, that in previ- 
ous times, inhabiting various cloddy aggregates of matter, 
I have been Count Guillaume de Sainte-Maure, a mangy 
and nameless hermit of Egypt, and the boy, Jesse, whose 
father was captain of forty wagons in the great westward 
emigration. And, also, am I not now, as I write these 
lines, Darrell Standing, under sentence of death in Eolsom 
•Prison and one time professor of agronomy in the College 
of Agriculture of the University of California? 
jy Matter is the great illusion. That is, matter manifests 
**'1ttself in form, and form is apparitional. Where, now, are 
the crumbling rock-cliffs of old Egypt where once I laired 
me like a wild beast while I dreamed of the City of God I 
Where, now, is the body of Guillaume de Sainte-Maure 
that was thrust through on the moonlit grass so long ago 
by the flame-headed Guy de Villehardouin ? Where now 
are the forty great wagons in the circle at ITephi, and all 
the men and women and children and lean cattle that shel- 
tered inside that circle ? All such things no longer are, for 
they were forms, manifestations of fluxing matter ere they 
melted into the flux again. They have passed and are not. 
v~*-v . ( And now my argument becomes plain. The spirit is 
N\^ H;he reality that endures. I am spirit, and I endure. I, 



THE STAK ROVEE 125 

Darrell Standing, the tenant of many fleshly tenements, 
shall write a few more lines of these memoirs and then 
pass on my way. The form of me that is my body will 
fall apart when it has been sufBciently hanged by the neck, 
and of it naught will remain in all the world of matter. 
In the world of spirit the memory of it will remain. 
Matter has no memory, because its forms are evanescent, 
and what is engraved on its forms perishes with the forms. 
One word more, ere I return to my narrative. In all 
my journeys through the dark into other lives that have 
been mine, I have never been able to guide any journey to 
a particular destination. Thus, many new experiences of 
old lives were mine before ever I chanced to return to the 
boy, Jesse, at Nephi. Possibly, all told, I have lived over 
Jesse's experiences a score of times, sometimes taking up 
his career when he was quite small in the Arkansas settle- 
ments, and at least a dozen times carrying on past the 
point where I left him at ISTephi. It were a waste of 
time to detail the whole of it; and so, without prejudice 
to the verity of my account, I shall skip much that is 
vague and tortuous and repetitional, and give the facts as 
I have assembled them out of the various times, in whole 
and part, as I relived them. 



J^' 



CHAPTER XIII 

Long before daylight the camp at Nephi was astir. 
The cattle were driven out to water and pasture. While 
the men unchained the wheels and drew the wagons apart 
and clear for yoking in, the women cooked forty break - 
^ fqata m-P^ ff^Tjij firpa. The children, in the chill of dawn, 
clustered about the fires, sharing places, here and there, 
with the last relief of the night watch waiting sleepily for 
coffee. 

It requires time to get a large train such as ours under 
way, for its speed is the speed of the slowest. So the sun 
was an hour high and the day was already uncomfortably 
hot, when we rolled out of I^ephi and on into the sandy 
barrens. ^"0 inhabitant of the place saw us off. All 
chose to remain indoors, thus making our departure as 
ominous as they had made our arrival the night before. 

Again it was long hours of parching heat and biting 
dust, sagebrush and sand, and a land accursed. No dwell- 
ings of men, neither cattle nor fences, nor any sign of 
human kind, did we encounter all that day; and at night 
we made our wagon-circle beside an empty stream, in the 
damp sand of which we dug many holes that filled slowly 
with water seepage. 

Our subsequent journey is always a broken experience 

to me. We made camp so many times, always with the 

wagons drawn in circle, that to my child mind a weary 

long time passed after ITephi. But always, strong upon 

all of us, was that sense of drifting to an impending and 

certain doom. 

We averaged about fifteen miles a day. I know, for my 

126 



THE STAE ROVER 12X 

father had said it was sixty miles to Eillmore, the next 
Mormon settlement, and we made three camps on the way. 
This meant four days of travel. Erom ]^ephi to the last 
camp of which I have any memory, we must have taken two 
weeks or a little less. » 

At Eillmore, the inhabitants were hostile, as all had! 
been since Salt Lake. They laughed at us when we tTiedt^ 
to buy food, and were not above taunting us with being 
Missourians. 

When we entered the place, hitched before the largest 
house of the dozen houses that composed the settlement, 
were two saddle horses, dusty, streaked with sweat, and 
drooping. The old man I have mentioned, the one with! 
long sunburnt hair and buckskin shirt and who seemed 
a sort of aide or lieutenant to father, rode close to our 
wagon and indicated the jaded saddle animals with a cock 
of his head. 

" Not sparin' horseflesh. Captain," he muttered in a lowr 
voice. " An' what in the name of Sam Hill are they hard- 
riding for if it ain't for us ? " 

But my father had already noted the condition of the 
two animals, and my eager eyes had seen him. And I 
had seen his eyes flash, his lips tighten, and haggard linesf 
form for a moment on his dusty face. That was all. But 
I put two and two together, and knew that the two tired 
saddle horses were just one more added touch of ominous- 
ness to the situation. 

" I guess they're keeping an eye on us, Laban," was my 
father's sole comment. 

It was at Eillmore that I saw a man that I was to see 
again. He was a tall, broad-shouldered man, well on in 
middle age, with all the evidence of good health and im- 
mense strength — strength not alone of body but of will. 
Unlike most men T was accustomed to about me, he was 
smooth-shaven. Several days' growth of beard showed 



128 THE STAE ROYEH 

that lie was already well-grayed. His moutH was un- 
usually wide, with thin lips tightly compressed as if he 
had lost many of his front teeth. His nose was large, 
square, and thick. So was his face square, wide between 
the cheekbones, underhung with massive jaws, and topped 
with a broad, intelligent forehead. And the eyes, rather 
small, a little more than the width of an eye apart, were 
the bluest blue I had ever seen. 

It was at the flour mill at Fillmore that I first saw this 
man. Father, with several of our company, had gone 
there to try to buy flour, and I, disobeying my mother in 
my curiosity to see more of our enemies, had tagged along 
unperceived. This man was one of four or five who stood 
in a group with the miller during the interview. 

" You seen that smooth-faced old cuss ? " Laban said to 
father, after we had got outside and were returning to 
camp. 

Father nodded. 

" Well, that's Lee," Laban continued. " I seen'm in 
Salt Lake. He's a regular son-of-a-gun. Got nineteen 
wives and fifty children, they all say. An' he's rank 
crazy on religion. Xow what's he foUowin' us up for 
through this Godforsaken country' ? " 
^ Our weary, doomed drifting went on. The little settle- 
ments, wherever water and soil permitted, were from 
twenty to fifty miles apart. Between stretched the bar- 
renness of sand and alkali and drought. And at every 
settlement our peaceful attempts to buy food were vain. 
They denied us harshly, and wanted to know who of us 
had sold them food when we drove them from Missouri. 
It was useless on our part to tell them we were from Ar- 
kansas. From Arkansas we truly were, but they insisted 
on our being Missourians. 

At Beaver, five days' journey south from Fillmore, we 
saw Lee again. And again we saw hard-ridden horses 



THE STAE EOVEK 129 

tethered before the houses. But we did not see Lee at 
Parowan. 

Cedar City was the last settlement. Laban^ who had 
ridden on ahead, came back and reported to father. His 
first news was significant. 

" I seen that Lee skeedaddling out as I rid in, Captain. 
An' there's more men-folk an' horses in Cedar City than 
the size of the place'd warrant." 

But we had no trouble at the settlement. Beyond re- 
fusing to sell us food, they left us to ourselves. The 
women and children stayed in the houses, and, though some 
of the men appeared in sight, they did not, as on former 
occasions, enter our camp and taunt us. 

It was at Cedar City that the Wainwright baby died. 
I remember Mrs. Wainwright weeping and pleading with 
Laban to try to get some cow's milk. 

" It may save the baby's life," she said. " And they've 
got cow's milk. I saw fresh cows with my own eyes. Go 
on, please, Laban. It won't hurt you to try. They can 
only refuse. But they won't. Tell them it's for a baby, 
a wee little baby. Mormon women have mother's hearts. \ ^ 
They couldn't refuse a cup of milk for a wee little baby." 

And Laban tried. But as he told father afterward, he 
did not get to see any Mormon women. He saw only the 
Mormon men, who turned him away. 

This was the last Mormon outpost. Beyond lay the 
waste desert, with, on the other side of it, the dream land, 
ay, the myth land, of California. As our wagons rolled 
out of the place in the early morning, I, sitting beside my 
father on the driver's seat, saw Laban give expression to 
his feelings. We had gone perhaps half a mile, and were 
topping a low rise that would sink Cedar City from view, 
when Laban turned his horse around, halted it, and stood 
up in the stirrups. Where he had halted was a new-made 
grave, and I knew it for the Wainwright baby's — not 



^y> 



t30 THE STAE EOVER 

the first of our graves since we had crossed the WasatcK 
Mountains. 

He was a weird figure of a man. Aged and lean, long- 
faced, hollow-cheeked, with matted, sunburnt hair that 
fell below the shoulders of his buckskin shirt, his face was 
• distorted with hatred and helpless rage. Holding his long 
rifle in his bridle-hand, he shook his free fist at Cedar 

'City. 

" God's curse on all of you ! " he cried out. " On your 
children, and on your babes unborn. May drought destroy 
your crops. May you eat sand seasoned with the venom 
of rattlesnakes. May the sweet water of your springs turn 
to bitter alkali. May . . ." 

Here his words became indistinct as our wagons rattled 
on ; but his heaving shoulders and brandishing fist attested 
that he had only begun to lay the curse. That he ex- 
pressed the general feeling in our train was evidenced by 
the many women who leaned from the wagons, thrusting 
out gaunt forearms and shaking bony, labor-malformed 
fists at the last of Mormondom. A man, who walked in 
the sand and goaded the oxen of the wagon behind ours, 
laughed and waved his goad. It was unusual, that laugh, 
for there had been no laughter in our train for many 
days. 

^' Give'm hell, Laban," he encouraged. " Them's my 
sentiments." 

And as our train rolled on, I continued to look bacl£ iat 
Laban, standing in his stirrups by the baby's grave. 
Truly, he was a weird figure, with his long hair, his 
moccasins, and fringed leggins. So old and weather- 
beaten was his buckskin shirt that ragged filaments, here 
and there, showed where proud fringes once had been. He 
was a man of flying tatters. I remember, at his waist, 
dangled dirty tufts of hair that, far back in the journey, 
after a shower of rain, were wont to show glossy black. 



THE STAK EOVER 131 

These I know were Indian scalps, and the sight of them al- 
ways thrilled me. 

" It will do him good," father commended, more to him- 
seK than to me. " I've been looking for days for him to 
blow up." 

" I wish he'd go back and take a couple of scalps," I 
yolunteered. 

My father regarded me quizzically. 

" Don't like the Mormons, eh, son ? " 

I shook my head and felt myself swelling with the in- 
articulate hate that possessed me. 

" When I grow up," I said, after a minute, " I'm goin' 
^nning for them." 

" You, Jesse ! " came my mother's voice from inside the 
.wagon. *' Shut your mouth instanter." And to my 
father : " You ought to be ashamed letting the boy talk 
on like that." 

Two days' journey brought us to Mountain Meadows, 
and here, well beyond the last settlement, for the first time 
■we did not form the wagon circle. The wagons were 
roughly in a circle, but there were many gaps, and the 
wheels were not chained. Preparations were made to 
stop a week. The cattle must be rested for the real desert, 
though this was desert enough in all seeming. The same 
low hills of sand were about us, but sparsely covered with 
scrub brush. The flat was sandy, but there was some 
grass — more than we had encountered in many days. 
'Not more than a hundred feet from camp was a weak 
spring that barely supplied human needs. But farther 
along the bottom various other weak springs emerged from 
the hillsides, and it was at these that the cattle watered. 

We made camp early that day, and, because of the pro-i 
gram to stay a week, there was a general overhauling o£i 
soiled clothes by the women, who planned to start wash- J-/ 
ing on the morrow. Everybody worked till nightfall. \ 



132 THE STAK EOVER 

While some of the men mended harness, others repaired 
the frames and ironwork of the wagons. There was much 
heating and hammering of iron and tightening of bolts 
and nuts. And I remember coming upon Laban, sitting 
cross-legged in the shade of a wagon and sewing awaj till 
nightfall on a new pair of moccasins. He was the only- 
man in our train who w^ore moccasins and buckskin, and 
I have an impression that he had not belonged to our 
company when it left Arkansas. Also, he had neither 
wife, nor family, nor wagon of his own. All he possessed 
Tvas his horse, his rifle, the clothes he stood up in, and 
a couple of blankets that were hauled in the Mason wagon. 

Next morning it was that our doom fell. Two days' 
journey beyond the last Mormon outpost, knowing that 
no Indians were about and apprehending nothing from 
the Indians on any count, for the first time we had not 
chained our wagons in the solid circle, placed gTiards on 
the cattle, nor set a night watch. 

My awakening was like a nightmare. It came as a sud- 
den blast of sound. I was only stupidly awake for the 
first moments and did nothing except to try to analyze 
and identify the various noises that went to compose the 
blast that continued without let up. I could hear near and 
distant explosions of rifles, shouts and curses of men, 
women screaming and children bawling. Then I could 
make out the thuds and squeals of bullets that hit wood 
and iron in the wheels and under-construction of the 
wagon. Whoever it was that was shooting, the aim was 
too low. 

When I started to rise, my mother, evidently just in the 
act of dressing, pressed me down with her hand. Father, 
already up and about, at this stage erupted into the wagon. 

" Out of it ! " he shouted. " Quick ! To the ground ! " 

He wasted no time. With a hook-like clutch that was 
almost a blow, so swift was it, he flung me bodily out of 



THE STAR EOVER 133 

the rear end of the wagon. I had barely time to crawl 
out from under when father, mother and the baby came 
down pell mell where I had been. 

" Here, Jesse! " father shouted to me, and I joined him. 
in scooping out sand behind the shelter of a wagon-wheel. 
,We worked bare-handed and wildly. Mother joined in. 

" Go ahead and make it deeper, Jesse," father ordered. 

He stood up and rushed away in the gray light, shout- 
ing commands as he ran. (I had learned by now my sur- 
name. I was Jesse Fancher. My father was Captain 
[Fancher. ) 

" Lie down ! " I could hear him. " Get behind the 
wagon wheels and burrow in the sand ! Family men, get 
the women and children out of the wagons! Hold your 
fire! No more shooting! Hold your fire and be ready 
for the rush w^hen it comes ! Single men, join Laban at 
the right, Cochrane at the left, and me in the center! 
Don't stand up ! Crawl for it ! " 

But no rush came. For a quarter of an hour the heavy 
and irregular firing continued. Our damage had come 
in the first moments of surprise when a number of the 
early-rising men were caught exposed in the light of the 
campfires they were building. The Indians — for In- 
dians Laban declared them to be — had attacked us from 
the open, and were lying down and firing at us. In the 
growing light father made ready for them. His posi- 
tion was near to where I lay in the burrow with mother 
so that I heard him when he cried out : 

" Now ! — all together ! " 

From left, right, and center, our rifles loosed in a 
volley. I had popped my head up to see, and I could 
make out more than one stricken Indian. Their fire im- 
mediately ceased, and I could see them scampering back 
on foot across the open, dragging their dead and wounded 
with them. 



134 THE STAE ROVER 

All was work with us on the instant. While the wagons 
were being dragged and chained into the circle with 
tongues inside — I saw women and little boys and girla 
flinging their strength on the wheel spokes to help — we 
took toll of our losses. Eirst, and gravest of all, our last 
animal had been run off. Next, lying about the fires they 
had been building, were seven of our men. Eour were 
dead, and three were dying. Other men, wounded, were 
being cared for by the women. Little Rish Hardacre had 
been struck in the arm by a heavy ball. He was no more 
than six, and I remember looking on with mouth agape 
while his mother held him on her lap and his father set 
about bandaging the wound. Little Rish had stopped cry- 
ing. I could see the tears on his cheeks while he stared 
wonderingly at a sliver of broken bone sticking out of his 
forearm. 

Granny White was found dead in the Eoxwell wagon. 
She was a fat and helpless old woman who never did any- 
thing but sit down all the time and smoke a pipe. Sh€ 
was the mother of Abby Foxwell. And Mrs. Grant had 
been killed. Her husband sat beside her body. He was 
very quiet. There were no tears in his eyes. He just sal 
there, his rifle across his knees, and everybody left him 
alone. 

Under father's directions the company was working 
like so many beavers. The men dug a big rifle pit in the 
center of the corral, forming a breastwork out of the dis- 
placed sand. Into this pit the women dragged bedding, 
food, and all sorts of necessaries from the wagons. All 
the children helped. There was no whimpering, and littlt 
or no excitement. There was work to be done, and all oi 
us were folks bom to work. 

The big rifle pit was for the women and children. TJn- 
3er the wagons, completely around the circle, a shallow 



THE STAR ROVER 135 

trencH was dug and an earthwork thrown up. This was 
for the fighting men. 

Laban returned from a scout. He reported that the 
Indians had withdrawn the matter of half a mile and were 
holding a powwow. Also, he had seen them carry six of 
their number off the field, three of which, he said, were 
deaders. 

From time to time, during the morning of that first day, 
we observed clouds of dust that advertised the movements 
of considerable bodies of mounted men. These clouds of 
dust came toward us, hemming us in on all sides. But 
we saw no living creature. One cloud of dust only, moved 
away from us. It was a large cloud, and everybody said 
it was our cattle being driven off. And our forty great 
wagons that had rolled over the Rockies and half across 
the continent, stood in a helpless circle. Without cattle, 
they could roll no farther. 

At noon Laban came in from another scout. He had 
seen fresh Indians arriving from the south, showing that 
we were being closed in. It was at this time that we saw 
a dozen white men ride out on the crest of a low hill to 
the east and look down on us. 

" That settles it," Laban said to father. " The In- 
dians have been put up to it." 

''They're white like us," I heard Abby Foxwell com-j 
plain to mother. " Why don't they come in to us ? " 

" They ain't whites," I piped up, with a wary eye for the/ 
swoop of mother's hand. " They're Mormons." 

That night, after dark, three of our young men stok 
out of camp. I saw them go. They were Will Aden, 
Abel Milliken, and Timothy Grant 

" They are heading for Cedar City to get help," father 
told mother while he was snatching a hasty bite of supper. 

Mother shook her head. 



136 THE STAK EOVER 

" There's plenty of Mormons within calling distance oJ 
camp," she said. " If they won't help, and they haven'l 
shown any signs, then the Cedar City ones won't either.'' 

" But there are good Mormons and had Mormons — '■ 
father began. 

'' We haven't found any good ones so far," she shu1 
him off. 

'Not until morning did I hear of the return of Abe! 
Milliken and Timothy Grant, but I was not long in learn 
ing. The whole camp was downcast by reason of theii 
report. The three had gone only a few miles when thej 
were challenged by white men. As soon as Will Ader 
spoke up, telling that they were from the Fancher Com 
pany, going to Cedar City for help, he was shot down 
Milliken and Grant escaped back with the news, and th( 
news settled the last hope in the hearts of our company 
The whites were behind the Indians, and the doom so lon^ 
apprehended was upon us. 

This morning of the second day, our men, going foi 
water, were fired upon. The spring was only a hundrec 
feet outside our circle, but the way to it was commandec 
by the Indians who now occupied the low hill to the east 
It was close range, for the hill could not have been mor( 
than fifteen rods away. But the Indians were not gooc 
shots, evidently, for our men brought in the water with 
out being hit. 

Beyond an occasional shot into camp, the morning 
passed quietly. We had settled down in the rifle pit 
and, being used to rough living, were comfortable enough 
•Of course, it was bad for the families of those who hac 
been killed, and there was the taking care of the wounded 
I was forever stealing away from mother in my insatiable 
curiosity to see everything that was going on, and I man 
aged to see pretty much of everything. Inside the corral 
to the south of the big rifle pit, the men dug a hole and bur 



THE STAE ROVER 13T 

ied the seven men and two women all together. Only Mrs. 
Hastings, who had lost her husband and father, made 
much trouble. She cried and screamed out, and it took 
the other women a long time to quiet her. 

On the low hill to the east the Indians kept up a tre- 
mendous powwowing and yelling. But beyond an occa- 
sional harmless shot, they did nothing. 

" What's the matter with the ornery cusses ? " Labau 
impatiently wanted to know. " Can't they make up their 
minds what they're goin' to do, an' then do it ? " 

It was hot in the corral that afternoon. The sun blazed 
down out of a cloudless sky, and there was no wind. The 
men, lying with their rifles in the trench under the wagons, 
were partly shaded; but the big rifle pit, in which were 
over a hundred women and children, was exposed to the 
full power of the sun. Here, too, were the wounded men, 
over whom we erected awnings of blankets. It was 
crowded and stifling in the pit, and I was forever stealing 
out of it to the firing line and making a great to do at 
carrying messages for father. 

Our grave mistake had been in not forming the wagoii 
circle so as to inclose the spring. This had been due to 
the excitement of the first attack, when we did not know 
how quickly it might be followed by a second one. And 
now it was too late. At fifteen rods' distance from the 
Indian position on the hill, we did not dare unchain our 
wagons. Inside the corral, south of the graves, we con- 
structed a latrine, and, north of the rifle pit in the center, 
a couple of men were told off by father to dig a well for 
water. 

In the mid-afternoon of that day, which was the second 
day, we saw Lee again. He was on foot, crossing diag- 
onally over the meadow to the northwest just out of rifle- 
shot from us. Father hoisted one of mother's sheets on 
a couple of ox-goads lashed together. This was our white 



138 THE STAE EOYER 

flag. But Lee took no notice of it, continuing on his 
svay. ^ 

Laban was for trying a long shot at him, but father 
stopped him, saying that it was evident the whites had' 
not made up their minds what they were going to do with' 
us, and that a shot at Lee might hurry them into making 
up their minds the wrong way. 

" Here, Jesse," father said to me, tearing a strip from 
the sheet and fastening it to an ox-goad. " Take this and 
go out and try to talk to that man. Don't tell him any- 
thing about what's happened to us. Just try to get him 
to come in and talk with us." 

As I started to obey, my chest swelling with pride in 
my mission, Jed Dunham cried out that he wanted to go 
with me. Jed was about my own age. 

" Dunham, can your boy go along with Jesse ? " father 
asked Jed's father. " Two's better than one. They'll 
keep each other out of mischief." 

So Jed and I, two youngsters of nine, went out under the 
white flag to talk with the leader of our enemies. But 
Lee would not talk. When he saw us coming, he started 
to sneak away. We never got within calling distance of 
him, and after a while he must have hidden in the brush ; 
for we never laid eyes on him again, and we knew he 
couldn't have got clear away. 

Jed and I beat up the brush for hundreds of yards all 
around. They hadn't told us how long we were to be 
gone, and since the Indians did not fire on us we kept on 
going. We were away over two hours, though had either 
of us been alone we would have been back in a quarter of 
the time. But Jed was bound to out-brave me, and I was 
equally bound to out-brave him. 

Our foolishness was not without profit. We walked 
boldly about under our white flag, and learned how thor- 
oughly pur camp^ was beleaguered. Jo the Bouth of our 



THE STAR EOYER 139 

train, not more than half a mile away, we made out a 
large Indian camp. Beyond, on the meadow, we could 
see Indian boys riding herd on their horses. 

Then there was the Indian position on the hill to the 
east. We managed to climb a low hill so as to look into 
this position. Jed and I spent half an hour trying to 
count them, and concluded, with much guessing, that there 
must be at least a couple of hundred. Also, we saw white 
men with them and doing a great deal of talking. 

ISTortheast of our train, not more than four hundred 
yards from it, we discovered a large camp of whites be- 
hind a low rise of ground. And beyond we could see 
fifty or sixty saddle horses grazing. And a mile or so 
away, to the north, we saw a tiny cloud of dust approach- 
ing. Jed and I waited until we saw a single man, riding 
fast, gallop into the camp of the whites. 

When we got back into the corral, the first thing that 
happened to me was a smack from mother for having 
staid away so long; but father praised Jed and me when 
we gave our report. 

" Watch for an attack now maybe, Captain," Aaron 
Cochrane said to father. " That man the boys seen has 
rid in for a purpose. The whites are holding the Indians 
till they get orders from higher up. Maybe that man 
brung the orders one way or the other. They ain't spar- 
ing horseflesh, that's one thing sure." 

Half an hour after our return, Laban attempted a scout 
under a white flag. But he had not gone twenty feet 
outside the circle when the Indians opened fire on him 
and sent him back on the run. 

Just before sundown I was in the rifle pit holding the 
baby, while mother was spreading the blankets for a bed. 
There were so many of us that we were packed and 
jammed. So little room was there, that many pf the 



140 THE STAE KOVER 

•women the night before had sat up and slept with their 
lieads bowed on their knees. Right alongside of me, so 
near that when he tossed his arms about he struck me on 
the shoulder, Silas Dunlap was dying. He had been shot 
in the head in the first attack, and all the second day was 
out of his head and raving and singing doggerel. One of 
his songs, that he sang over and over, until it made mother 
'frantic nervous, was: 

" Said the first little devil to the second little devil, 
' Give me some tobaccy from your old tobaccy box.' 
Said the second little devil to the first little devil, 
* Stick close to your money and close to your rocks, 
An' you'll always have tobaccy in your old tobaccy box.' " 

I was sitting directly alongside of him, holding the 
baby, w^hen the attack burst on us. It was sundown, and 
I was staring with all my eyes at Silas Dunlap, who was 
gust in the final act of dying. His wife, Sarah, had one 
hand resting on his forehead. Both she, and her Aunt 
Hartha, were crying softly. And then it came — explo- 
sions and bullets from hundreds of rifles. Clear around 
from east to west by way of the north, they had strung 
out in half a circle and were pumping lead into our posi- 
tion. Everybody in the rifle pit flattened down. Lots of 
the younger children set up a squalling, and it kept the 
iwomen busy hushing them. Some of the women screamed 
^ at first, but not many. 

' Thousands of shots must have rained in on us in the 
next few minutes. How I wanted to crawl out to the 
trench under the wagons w^here our men were keeping up 
a steady but irregular fire! Each was shooting on his 
own whenever he saw a man to pull trigger on. But 
mother suspected me, for she made me crouch down and 
Jieep right on holding the baby. 

I was just taking a look at Silas Dunlap — he was still 



THE STAE EOVER 141 

quivering — -when the little Castleton baby was killed. 
Dorothy Castleton, herseK only about ten, was holding it, 
so that it was killed in her arms. She was not hurt 
at all. I heard them talking about it, and they con- 
jectured that the bullet must have struck high up on 
one of the wagons and been deflected do^vn into the rifle 
pit. It was just an accident, they said, and that except 
for such accidents we were safe where we were. 

When I looked again, Silas Dunlap was dead, and I 
suffered distinct disappointment in being cheated out of 
witnessing that particular event. I had never been lucky 
enough to see a man actually die before my eyes. , 

Dorothy Castleton got hysterics over what had happened, 
and yelled and screamed for a long time and she set Mrs. 
Hastings going again. Altogether, such a row was raised 
that father sent Watt Cummings crawling back to us to 
find out what was the matter. 

Well along into twilight the heavy firing ceased, al- 
though there were scattering shots during the night. Two 
of our men were wounded in this second attack, and were 
brought into the rifle pit. Bill Tyler was killed instantly, 
and they buried him, Silas Dunlap, and the Castleton baby, 
in the dark alongside of the others. 

All during the night men relieved one another at sink- 
ing the well deeper; but the only sign of water they got 
was damp sand. Some of the men fetched a few pails of 
water from the spring, but were fired upon, and they gave 
it up when Jeremy Hopkins had his left hand shot olf at 
the wrist. 

Next morning, the third day, it was hotter and dryer 
than ever. We awoke thirsty, and there was no cooking. 
So dry were our mouths that we could not eat. I tried a 
piece of stale bread mother gave me, but had to give it up. 
The firing rose and fell. Sometimes there were hundreds 
shooting into the camp. At other times came lulls in 



142 THE STAK ROVEK 

which not a shot was fired. Father was continually cau- 
tioning our men not to waste shots because we were run- 
ning short of ammunition. 

And all the time the men went on digging the well. It 
was so deep that they were hoisting the sand up in buckets. 
The men who hoisted were exposed, and one of them was 
wounded in the shoulder. He was Peter Bromley, who 
drove oxen for the Bloodgood wagon, and he was engaged 
to marry Jane Bloodgood. She jumped out of the rifle 
pit and ran right to him while the bullets were flying 
and led him back into shelter. About midday the well 
caved in, and there was lively work digging out the couple 
who were buried in the sand. Amos Wentworth did not 
come to for an hour. After that they timbered the well 
with bottom boards from the wagons and wagon tongues, 
and the digging went on. But all they would get, and they 
were twenty feet down, was damp sand. The water would 
not seep. 

By this time the conditions in the rifle pit were terrible. 
The children were complaining for water, and the babies, 
hoarse from much crying, went on crying. Eobert Carr, 
another wounded man, lay about ten feet from mother and 
me. He was out of his head, and kept thrashing his arms 
about and calling for water. And some of the women were 
almost as bad, and kept raving against the Mormons and 
Indians. Some of the women prayed a great deal, and 
the three grown Demdike sisters with their mother sang 
gospel hymns. Other women got damp sand that was 
hoisted out of the bottom of the well, and packed it 
against the bare bodies of the babies to try to cool and 
soothe them. 

The two Fairfax brothers couldn't stand it any longer, 
and, with pails in their hands, crawled out under a wagon 
and made a dash for the spring. Giles never got half 
way, when he went down. Eoger made it there and back 



THE STAR EOVER 143 

without being hit. He brought two pails part-full, for 
some splashed out when he ran. Giles crawled back, and 
when they helped him into the rifle pit he was bleeding at 
the mouth and coughing. 

Two part-pails of water could not go far among over a 
hundred of us, not counting the men. Only the babies,^ 
and the very little children, and the wounded men, got any. 
I did not get a sip, although mother dipped a bit of cloth 
into the several spoonfuls she got for the baby and wiped 
my mouth out. She did not even do that for herself, for 
she left me the bit of damp rag to chew. 

The situation grew unspeakably worse in the afternoon. 
The quiet sun blazed down through the clear windless air 
and made a furnace of our hole in the sand. And all 
about us were the explosions of rifles and yells of the In- 
dians. Only once in a while did father permit a single 
shot from the trench, and at that, only by our best marks- 
men, such as Laban and Timothy Grant. But a steady; 
stream of lead poured into our position all the time. 
There were no more disastrous ricochets, however ; and our 
men in the trench, no longer firing, lay low and escaped 
damage. Only four were wounded, and only one of them 
very badly. 

Father came in from the trench during a lull in the 
firing. He sat for a few minutes alongside mother and 
me without speaking. He seemed to be listening to all 
the moaning and crying for water that was going up. 
Once, he climbed out of the rifle pit and went over to in- 
vestigate the well. He brought back only damp sand, 
which he plastered thick on the chest and shoulders of 
Robert Carr. Then he went to where Jed Dunham and 
his mother were, and sent for Jed's father to come in from 
the trench. So closely packed were we, that when any- 
body moved about inside the rifle pit ho had to crawl care- 
fully over the bodies of those lying do^vn. 



144 THE STAR ROVER 

After a time, father came crawling back to us. 
" Jesse," be asked, " are you afraid of the Indians ? " 
I shook my head emphatically, guessing that I was to be 
sent on another proud mission. 

" Are you afraid of the damned Mormons ? " 
" I^ot of any damned Mormon," I answered, taking 
advantage of the opportunity to curse our enemies with- 
out fear of the avenging back of mother's hand. 

I noted the little smile that curled his tired lips for the 
moment, when he heard my reply. 

] " Well, then, Jesse," he said, " will you go with Jed 
t(| the spring for water ? " 
I was all eagerness. 

" We're going to dress the two of you up as girls," he 
ontinued, " so that maybe they won't fire on you." 

I insisted on going as I was, as a male human that wore 
ants ; but I surrendered quickly enough when father sug- 
ested that he would find some other boy to dress up and 
along with Jed. 
A chest was fetched in from the Chattox wagon. The 
Chattox girls were twins and of about a size with Jed 
and me. Several of the women got around to help. 
They were the Sunday dresses of the Chattox twins, and 
liad come in the chest all the w^ay from Arkansas. 

In her anxiety, mother left the baby with Sarah Dun- 
lap, and came as far as the trench with me. There, un- 
der a wagon and behind the little breastwork of sand, Jed 
and I received our last instructions. Then we crawled 
out and stood up in the open. We were dressed precisely 
alike — white stockings, white dresses with big blue 
• sashes, and white sunbonnets. Jed's right, and my left 
I hand were clasped together. In each of our free hands 
I ;we carried two small pails. 
4 " Take it easy," father cautioned, as we began our ad- 
; vance. " Go slow. Walk like girls." 






THE STAR EOVER 145 

!N'ot a shot was fired. We made the spring safely, filled ' 
our pails, and lay down and took a good drink ourselves, L^^ 
With a full pail in each hand we made the return trip.' 
And still not a shot was fired. 

I cannot remember how many journeys we made — j 
fully fifteen or twenty. We walked slowly, always go- 
ing out with hands clasped, always coming back slowly 
with four pails of water. It was astonishing how thirsty 
we were. We lay down several times and took long 
drinks. 

But it was too much for our enemies. I cannot imagine 
that the Indians would have withheld their fire for so long^l— i<3f 
girls or no girls, had they not obeyed instructions from tho \ 
whites who were with them. At any rate, Jed and I wer& "^ 
just starting on another trip when a rifle went off from 
the Indian hill, and then another. 

" Come back ! " mother cried out. 

I looked at Jed, and found him looking at me. I knew: 
he was stubborn and had made up his mind to be the last 
one in. So I started to advance, and at the same instant 
he started. 

" You ! — Jesse ! " cried my mother. And there was 
more than a smacking in the way she said it. 

Jed offered to clasp hands, but I shook my head. 

" Eun for it," I said. 

And while we hotfooted it across the sand, it seemed all 
the rifles on Indian hill were turned loose on us. I got 
to tho spring a little ahead, so that Jed had to wait for 
me to fill my pails. 

" Now run for it," he told me ; and from the leisurely 
way he went about filling his own pails I knew he was 
determined to be in last. 

So I crouched down, and, while I waited, watched the 
puffs of dust raised by the bullets. We began the re- 
turn side by side and running. 



146 THE STAR ROVER 

" Not so fast," I cautioned him, " or you'll spill half 
the water." 

That stung him, and he slacked back perceptibly. Mid- 
way I stumbled and fell headlong. A bullet, striking 
directly in front of me, filled my eyes with sand. Eor 
the moment I thought I was shot. 

" Done it a-purpose," Jed sneered, as I scrambled to 
my feet. He had stood and waited for me. 

I caught his idea. He thought I had fallen deliber- 
ately in order to spill my water and go back for more. 
This rivalry between us was a serious matter — so serious, 
indeed, that I immediately took advantage of what he 
had imputed and raced back to the spring. And Jed 
Dunham, scornful of the bullets that were puffing dust 
all around him, stood there upright in the open and waited 
for me. We came in side by side, with honors even in our 
boy's foolhardiness. But when we delivered the water, 
Jed had only one pailful. A bullet had gone through' 
the other pail close to the bottom. 

Mother took it out on me with a lecture on disobedience. 

She must have known, after what I had done, that father 

/. , wouldn't let her smack me ; for, while she was lecturing, 

father winked at me across her shoulder. It was the 

first time he had ever winked at me. 

Back in the rifle pit Jed and I were heroes. The 
women wept and blessed us, and kissed us and mauled 
us. And I confess I was proud of the demonstration, al- 
though, like Jed, I let on that I did not like all such mak- 
ing-over, '^ut Jeremy Hopkins, a great bandage about 
J the stump of his left wrist, said we were the stuff white- 
/. men were made out of — men like Daniel Boone, like 
Kit Carson and Davy Crockett. I was prouder of that 
than all the rest. 
"^ The remainder of the day I seem to have been bothered 



THE STAE ROVER 147 

principally witli the pain of my right eye caused by the 
sand that had been kicked into it by the bullet. The 
eye was bloodshot, mother said; and to me it seemed to 
hurt just as much whether I kept it open or closed. I 
tried both ways. 

Things were quieter in the rifle pit, because all had had 
water ; though strong upon us was the problem of how the 
next water was to be procured. Coupled with this was 
the known fact that our ammunition was almost exhausted. 
A thorough overhauling of the wagons by father had re- 
sulted in finding five pounds of powder. A very little 
more was in the flasks of the men. 

I remembered the sundown attack of the night before, 
and anticipated it this time by crawling to the trench be- 
fore sunset. I crept into a place alongside of Laban. He 
was busy chewing tobacco, and did not notice me. Eor 
some time I watched him, fearing that when he discov- 
ered me he would order me back. He would take a long 
squint out between the wagon wheels, chew steadily a 
while, and then spit carefully into a little depression he 
had made in the sand, 

" How's tricks ? " I asked finally. It was the way he 
always addressed me. 

"Fine," he answered. "Most remarkable fine, Jesse, 
now that I can chew again. My mouth was that dry that 
I couldn't chew from sun-up to when you brung the 
water." 

Here, a man showed head and shoulders over the top 
of the little hill to the northeast occupied by the whites. 
Laban sighted his rifle on him for a long minute. Then 
he shook his head. 

" Four hundred yards, l^ope, T don't risk it. I might 
get him, and then again I mightn't, an' your dad is mighty 
anxious about the powder." 



,148 THE STAR EOVER 

" Wliat do you think our chances are ? " I asked, man- 
fashion, for, after my water exploit I was feeling very- 
much the man. 

Laban seemed to consider carefully for a space, ere he 
replied. " Jesse, I don't mind tellin' you we're in a 
damned bad hole. But we'll get out, oh, we'll get out, you 
can bet your bottom dollar." 

" Some of us ain't going to get out," I objected. 

" Who, for instance ? " he queried. 

" Why, Bill Tyler, and Mrs. Grant, and Silas Dunlap, 
and all the rest." 
\ " Aw, shucks, Jesse — they're in the ground already. 
'. Don't you know everybody has to bury their dead as they 
traipse along. They've ben doin' it for thousands of years 
\ I reckon, and there's just as many alive as ever they was. 
i You see, Jesse, birth and death go hand in hand. And 
(they're born as fast as they die — faster, I reckon, be- 
cause they've increased and multiplied. ISTow you, you 
might a-got killed this afternoon packin' water. But 
you're here, ain't you, a-gassin' with me an' likely to grow 
up an' be the father of a fine large family in Californy. 
They say everything grows large in Californy." 

This cheerful way of looking at the matter encouraged 
me to dare sudden expression of a long covetousness. 

" Say, Laban, supposin' you got killed here — " 

"Who? — me? "he cried. 

" I'm just say in' supposin'," I explained. 

" Oh, all right then. Go on. Supposin' I am killed ? " 

" Will you give me your scalps ? " 

" Your ma' 11 smack you if she catches you a-wearin' 
them," he temporized. 

" I don't have to wear them when she's around. J^ow! 
if you got killed, Laban, somebody'd have to get them 
scalps. Why not me ? " 

" Why not ? " he repeated. " That's correct, and why 



iTHE STAE ROVER 149. 

not you? All right, Jesse. I like you, and your pa. 
The minute I'm killed the scalps is yourn, and the scalpin' 
knife, too. And there's Timothy Grant for witness. — • 
Did you hear, Timothy ? " 

Timothy said he had heard, and I lay there speechless 
in the stifling trench, too overcome by my greatness of 
good fortune to be able to utter a word of gratitude. 

I was rewarded for my foresight in going to the trench.- 
Another general attack was made at sundown, and thou- 
sands of shots were fired into us. Nobody on our side was 
scratched. On the other hand, although we fired barely 
thirty shots, I saw Laban and Timothy Grant each get an 
Indian. Laban told me that from the first only the In- 
dians had done the shooting. He was certain that no 
white had fired a shot. All of which sorely puzzled him. 
The whites neither offered us aid nor attacked us, and 
all the while were on visiting terms with the Indians who 
were attacking us. 

jNText morning found the thirst harsh upon us. I was 
out at the first hint of light. There had been a heavy 
dew, and men, women and children were lapping it up 
with their tongues from off the wagon-tongues, brake- 
blocks, and wheel-tires. 

There was talk that Laban had returned from a scout 
just before daylight; that he had crept close to the posi- 
tion of the whites; that they were already up; and that 
in the light of their camp fires he had seen them praying 
in a large circle. Also, he reported from what few words 
he caught that they were praying about us and what was 
to be done with us. 

" May God send them the light then," I heard one of the 
Demdike sisters say to Abby Foxwell. 

" And soon," said Abby Foxwell, " for I don't know 
what we'll do a whole day without water, and our powder 
is about gone." 



150 THE STAK EOVER 

ISTothing happened all morning. Not a shot was fired. 
Only the sun blazed down through the quiet air. Our 
thirst grew, and soon the babies were crying and the 
younger children whimpering and complaining. At noon, 
Will Hamilton took two large pails and started for the 
spring. But before he could crawl under the wagon, Ann 
Demdike ran and got her arms around him and tried to 
hold him back. But he talked to her, and kissed her, and 
went on. Not a shot was fired, nor was any fired all the 
time he continued to go out and bring back water. 

" Praise God ! " cried old Mrs. Demdike. " It is a; 
sign. They have relented." 

This was the opinion of many of the women. 

About two o'clock, after we had eaten and felt better, 
a white man appeared, carrying a white flag. Will 
Hamilton went out and talked to him, came back and 
talked with father and the rest of our men, and then went 
out to the stranger again. Farther back we could see a 
man standing and looking on whom we recognized as 
Lee. 

With us, all was excitement. The women were so re- 
lieved that they were crying and kissing one another, and 
old Mrs. Demdike and others were hallelujahing and 
blessing God. The proposal, which our men had accepted, 
was that we would put ourselves under the flag of truce 
and be protected from the Indians. 

" We had to do it," I heard father tell mother. 

He was sitting, droop-shouldered and dejected, on a 
wagon tongue. 

" But what if they intend treachery ? " mother asked. 

He shrugged his shoulders. 

*' We've got to take the chance that they don't," he said. 
" Our ammunition is gone." 

Some of our men were unchaining one of our wagons 
iand rolling it out of the way. I ran across to see what was 



THE STAK EOVER 151 

happening. In came Lee himself, followed by two empty 
wagons, each driven by one man. Everybody crowded 
around Lee. He said that they had had a hard time with 
the Indians keeping them off of us, and that Major Hig- 
bee with fifty of the Mormon militia were ready to take 
us under their charge. 

But what made father and Laban and some of the men 
suspicious was when Lee said that we must put all our 
Tifles into one of the wagons so as not to arouse the 
animosity of the Indians. By so doing we would appear 
to be the prisoners of the Mormon militia. 

Father straightened up and was about to refuse, when 
he glanced to Laban, who replied in an undertone: 

" They ain't no more use in our hands than in the 
wagon, seein' as the powder's gone." 

Two of our wounded men who could not walk, were put 
into the wagons, and along with them were put all the 
little children. Lee seemed to be picking them out over 
eight and under eight. Jed and I were large for our age, 
and we were nine besides; so Lee put us with the older 
bunch and told us we were to march with the women on 
foot. 

When he took our baby from mother and put it in a 
wagon, she started to object. Then I saw her lips draw 
tiiihtly together, and she gave in. She was a gray-eyed, 
^tToiig-featured, middle-aged woman, large-boned and 
fairly stout. But the long journey and hardship had told 
on her, so that she was hollow-cheeked and gaunt, and like 
all the women in the company she wore an expression of 
b7-r)oding, never-ceasing anxiety. 

it was when Lee described the order of march that 

Laban came to me. Lee said that the women and the 

.children that walked should go first in the line, following 

ffbchiud the two wagons. Then the men, in single file, 

3liould follow the women. When Laban heard this, he 



152 THE STAE EOVER 

came to me, "untied tlie scalps from his belt, and fastened 
them to my waist. 

" But you ain't killed yet," I protested. 
" You bet your life I ain't," he answered lightly. 
'' I've just reformed, that's all. This scalp-wearin' is a 
vain thing and heathen." He stopped a moment as if he 
had forgotten something, then, as he turned abruptly on 
his heel to regain the men of our company, he called over 
his shoulder, " Well, so long, Jesse." 

I was wondering why he should say good-bye, when a 
white man came riding into the corral. He said Major 
Higbee had sent him to tell us to hurry up, because the 
Indians might attack at any moment. 

, So the march began, the two wagons first. Lee kept 
along with the women and walking children. Behind us, 
after waiting until we were a couple of hundred feet in 
advance, came our men. As we emerged from the corral 
we could see the militia just a short distance away. They 
were leaning on their rifles and standing in a long line 
about six feet apart. As we passed them, I could not help 
noticing how solemn-faced they were. They looked like 
men at a funeral. So did the women notice this, and, 
some of them began to cry. 

I walked right behind my mother. I had chosen this 
position so that she would not catch sight of my scalps. 
Behind me came the three Demdike sisters, two of them 
helping the old mother. I could hear Lee calling all the 
time to the men who drove the wagons not to go so fast. 
^^ A man that one of the Demdike girls said must be Major 
j.^-- Higbee, sat on a horse watching us go by. Not an Indian 

V was in sight. 

'^ --v^, By the time our men were just abreast of the militia — ' 

i»-^^ V-^I had just looked back to try to see where Jed Dunham 

NV^X |was — the thing happened. I heard Major Higbee cry 

(/^ out in a loud voice, " Do your duty ! " All the rifles of 



THE STAK ROVER 153 

the militia seemed to go off at once, and our men were 
falling over and sinking do^vn. All the Demdike women 
went down at one time. I turned quickly to see how 
mother was, and she was down. Right alongside of us, 
out of the bushes, came hundreds of Indians, all shooting. 
I saw the two Dunlap sisters start on the run across the 
sand, and took after them, for whites and Indians were all 
killing us. And as I ran, I saw the driver of one of the 
wagons shooting the two wounded men. The horses of the 
other wagon were plunging and rearing and their driver 
ivvas trying to hold them. --—J 

It was when the little boy that was I was running 
after the Dunlap girls that blackness came upon him. All 
memory there ceases, for Jesse Fancher there ceased, and, 
as Jesse Eancher, ceased forever. The form that was 
Jesse Fancher, the body that was his, being matter and 
apparitional, like an apparition passed and was not. But 
the imperishable spirit did not cease. It continued to 
exist, and, in its next incarnation, became the residing 
spirit of that apparitional body known as Darrell Stand- 
ing's and which soon is to be taken out and hanged and 
sent into the nothingness whither all apparitions go. 

There is a lifer here in Eolsom, Matthew Davies, of 
old pioneer stock, who is trusty of the scaffold and execu- 
tion chamber. He is an old man, and his folks crossed 
the plains in the early days. I have talked with him, and 
he has verified the massacre in which Jesse Fancher was 
killed. When this old lifer was a child, there was much 
talk in his family of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. 
The children in the wagons, he said, were saved, because 
they were too young to tell tales. 

All of which I submit. Never, in my life of Darrell 
Standing, have I read a line or heard a word spoken 
of the Fancher Company that perished at Mountain 



154 THE STAE ROYEK 

Meadows. Yet, in the jacket in San Quentin prison, all 
this knowledge came to me. I could not create this knowl- 
edge out of nothing, any more than could I create dyna- 
mite out of nothing. This knowledge and these facts I 
have related have but one explanation. They are out of. 
the spirit content of me — the spirit that, unlike matter,; 
does not perish. 

In closing this chapter, I must state that Matthew 
Davies also told me that some years after the massacre 
Lee was taken by United States Government officials to 
the Mountain Meadows and there executed on the site of 
our old corral. 



CHAPTEE XIV. 

Wheist, at the conclusion of my first ten days* term in 
tHe jacket, I was brought back to consciousness by Dr. 
Jackson's thumb pressing open an eyelid, I opened both 
eyes and smiled up into the face of Warden Atherton. 

" Too cussed to live and too mean to die," was his com- 
ment. 

" The ten days are up, Warden," I whispered. 

" Well, we're going to unlace you," he growled. 

" It is not that," I said. " You observed my smile. 
You remember we had a little wager. Don't bother to un- 
lace me first. Just give the Bull Durham and cigarette 
papers to Morrell and Oppenheimer. And for full meas- 
ure here's another smile." 

" Oh, I know your kind. Standing," the warden lec- 
tured. " But it won't get you anything. If I don't 
break you, you'll break all straight] acket records." 

" He's broken them already," Doctor Jackson said. 
" Whoever heard of a man smiling after ten days of it ? " 

" Will and bluff," Warden Atherton answered. — '' Un- 
lace him, Ilutchins." 

" Why such haste ? " I queried, in a whisper, of course, 
for so low had life ebbed in me that it required all the 
little strength I possessed and all the will of me to be able 
to whisper even. " Why such haste ? I don't have to 
catch a train, and I am so confounded comfortable as I 
am that I prefer not to be disturbed." 

But unlace me they did, rolling me out of the fetid 

jacket and upon the floor, an inert, helpless thing. 

165 



156 THE STAK ROYEK 

i 

" !N"o wonder he was comfortable," said Captain Jamie. 
*' He didn't feel anything. He's paralyzed." 

" Paralyzed your grandmother," sneered the warden. 
" Get him up on his feet and you'll see him stand." 

Hutchins and the doctor dragged me to my feet. 

" Now let go ! " the warden commanded. 

'Not all at once could life return into the body that had 
been practically dead for ten days, and as a result, with 
no power as yet over my flesh, I gave at the knees, 
crumpled, pitched sidewise, and gashed my forehead 
against the wall. 

" You see," said Captain Jamie. 

" Good acting," retorted the warden. " That man's got 
nerve to do anything." 

" You're right, Warden," I whispered from the floor. 
^' I did it on purpose. It was a stage fall. Lift me up 
again, and I'll repeat it. I promise you lots of fun." 
' I shall not dwell upon the agony of returning circula- 
tion. It was to become an old story Avith me, and it bore 
its share in cutting the lines in my face that I shall carry 
to the scaffold. 

\ When they finally left me, I lay for the rest of the day 
stupid and half -comatose. There is such a thing as anes- 
thesia of pain, engendered by pain too exquisite to be 
borne. And I have known that anesthesia. 

By evening I was able to crawl about my cell, but not 

yet could I stand up. I drank much water, and cleansed 

myself as well as I could; but not until next day could 

I bring myself to eat, and then only by deliberate force of 

■ my will. 

I The program, as given me by Warden Atherton, was 
■that I was to rest up and recuperate for a few days, and 
then, if in the meantime I had not confessed to the hid- 
ing place of the dynamite, I should be given another ten 
days in the jacket. 



THE STAE KOVER 157 

** Sorry to cause you so much trouble, Warden," I had 
said in reply. " It's a pity I don't die in the jacket and 
so put you out of your misery." 

At this time I doubt that I weighed an ounce over 
ninety pounds. Yet, two years before, when the doors of 
San Quentin first closed on me, I had weighed one hun- 
dred and sixty-five pounds. It seems incredible that / 
there was another ounce I could part with and still live. 
Yet in the months that followed, ounce by ounce I was 
reduced until I know I must have weighed nearer eighty 
than ninety pounds. I do know, after I managed my es- 
cape from solitary and struck the guard Thurston on the 
nose, that before they took me to San Rafael for trial, 
while I was being cleaned and shaved, I weighed eighty- 
nine pounds. 

There are those who wonder how men grow hard. 
[Warden Atherton was a hard man. He made me hard, 
and my very hardness reacted on him and made him 
harder. And yet he never succeeded in killing me. It 
required the state law of California, a hanging judge, and 
an unpardoning governor to send me to the scaffold for 
striking a prison guard with my fist. I shall always con- 
tend that that guard had a nose most easily bleedable. I 
was a bat-eyed tottery skeleton at the time. I sometimes 
wonder if his nose really did bleed. Of course, he swore 
it did, on the witness stand. But I have known prison 
guards take oath to worse perjuries than that. 

Ed Morrell was eager to know if I had succeeded with 
the experiment ; but when he attempted to talk with me he 
was shut up by Smith, the guard who happened to be on 
duty in solitary. 

"That's all right, Ed," I rapped to him. "You and 
Jake keep quiet, and I'll tell you about it. Smith can't 
prevent you from listening, and he can't prevent me from 
talking. They have done their worst, and I am still here." 



158 THE STAR EOVER 

" Cut that out, Standing ! " Smith bellowed at me from 
the corridor on which all the cells opened. 

Smith was a peculiarly saturnine individual, by far the 
most cruel and vindictive of our guards. We used to can- 
vass whether his wife bullied him or whether he had 
chronic indigestion. 

I continued rapping with my knuckles, and he came to 
the wicket to glare in at me. 

" I told you to cut that out," he snarled. 

" Sorry," I said suavely. " But I have a sort of pre- 
monition that I shall go right on rapping. And — er — ' 
excuse me for asking a personal question — what are you 
going to do about it ? " 

" I'll . . ." he began explosively, proving, by his in- 
ability to conclude the remark, that he thought in henids. 

" Yes ? " I encouraged. " Just what, pray ? " 

" I'll have the warden here," he said lamely. 

" Do, please. A most charming gentleman, to be sure. 
A shining example of the refining influences that are creep- 
ing into our prisons. Bring him to me at once. I wish 
to report you to him.'* 

"Me?" 

" Yes, just precisely you," I continued. " You persist, 
in a rude and boorish manner, in interrupting my con- 
versation with the other guests in this hostelry." 

And Warden Atherton came. The door was unlocked, 
and he blustered into my cell. But oh, I was so safe. 
He had done his worst. I was beyond his power. 

" I'll shut off your grub," he threatened. 

" As you please," I answered. " I'm used to it. I 
haven't eaten for ten days, and, do you know, trying to 
begin to eat again is a confounded nuisance." 

" Oh, ho, you're threatening me, are you ? A hunger 
.strike, eh ? " 

" Pardon me," I said, my voice ailky with politeness. 



THE STAE EOVER 159 

" The proposition was yours, not mine. Do try and be 
logical on occasion. I trust you will believe me when I 
tell you that your illogic is far more painful for me to 
endure than all your tortures." 

" Are you going to stop your knuckle-talking ? " he de- 
manded. 

" Xo — forgive me for vexing you — for I feel so 
strong a compulsion to talk with my knuckles that — " 

" For two cents I'll put you back in the jacket," he broke 
in. 

" Do, please. I dote on the jacket. I am the jacket 
baby. I get fat in the jacket. Look at that arm." I 
pulled up my sleeve and showed a biceps so attenuated 
that when I flexed it it had the appearance of a string.! 
" A real blacksmith's biceps, eh, Warden ? Cast your 
eyes on my swelling chest. Sandow would better look out 
for his laurels. And my abdomen — why, man, I am 
growing so stout that my case will be a scandal of prison 
overfeeding. Watch out, Warden, or you'll have the 
taxpayers after you." 

" Are you going to stop knuckle-talk ? " he roared. 

" ISTo, thanking you for your kind solicitude. On ma- 
ture deliberation I have decided that I shall keep on 
knuckle-talking." 

He stared at me speechlessly for a moment, and then, 
out of sheer impotency, turned to go. 

" One question, please." 

" What is it ? " he demanded over his shoulder. 

" What are you going to do about it ? " 

From the choleric exhibition he gave there and then, it 
has been an unceasing wonder with me to this day that he 
has not long since died of apoplexy. 

Hour by hour, after the warden's discomfited depar- 
ture, I rapped on and on the tale of my adventures. Not 
until that night, when Pie-Face Jones came on duty and 



aeo THE STAR EOVER 

proceeded to steal his customary naps, were Morrell and 
lOppenheimer able to do any talking. 

'' Pipe dreams," Oppenheimer rapped his verdict. 

Yes, was my thought; our experiences are the stuff of 
-pur dreams. 

" \Vhen I was a night messenger I hit the hop once," Op- 
penheimer continued. " And I want to tell you you 
haven't anything on me when it comes to seeing things. I 
,guess that is what all the novel-writers do — hit the hop so 
as to throw their imagination into the high gear." 

But Ed Morrell, who had traveled the same road as I, 
although with different results, believed my tale. He said 
that when his body died in the jacket, and he himself 
went forth from prison, he was never anybody but Ed 
Morrell. He never experienced previous existences. 
iWhen his spirit wandered free, it wandered always in the 
present. As he told us, just as he was able to leave his 
body and gaze upon it lying in the jacket on the cell floor, 
.iso could he leave the prison and, in the present, revisit 
San Erancisco and see what was occurring. In this man- 
ner he had visited his mother twice, both times finding her 
asleep. In this spirit-roving he said he had no power over 
material things. He could not open or close a door, move 
any object, make a noise, nor manifest his presence. On 
the other hand, material things had no power over him. 
Walls and doors were not obstacles. The entity, or the 
real thing that was he, was thought, spirit. 

" The grocery store on the corner, half a block from 
where mother lived, changed hands," he told us. " I 
knew it by the different sign over the place. I had to wait 
six months after that before I could write my first letter, 
but when I did I asked mother about it. And she said 
yes, it had changed." 

" Did you read that grocery sign ? " Jake Oppenheimer 
asked. 



THE STAK EOVEE 161 

" Sure thing I did," was Morrell's response. " Or how 
could I have known it ? " 

" All right," rapped Oppenheimer the unbelieving. 
" You can prove it easy. Some time, when they shift 
some decent guards on us that will give us a peep at a 
newspaper, you get yourself thrown into the jacket, climb 
out of your body, and sashay down to little old Frisco. 
Slide up to Third and Market just about two or three 
A. M. when they are running the morning papers off the 
press. Eead the latest news. Then make a swift sneak 
for San Quentin, get here before the newspaper tug crosses 
the bay, and tell me what you read. Then we'll wait and 
get a morning paper, when it comes in, from a guard. 
Then, if what you told me is in that paper, I am with 
you to a fare-you-well." 

It was a good test. I could not but agree with Oppen- 
heimer that such a proof would be absolute. Morrell said 
he would take it up some time, but that he disliked to 
such an extent the process of leaving his body, that he 
would not make the attempt until such time that his suf- 
fering in the jacket became too extreme to be borne. 

" That is the way with all of them — won't come across ' 
with the goods," was Oppenheimer's criticism. " My 
mother believed in spirits. When I was a kid she was 
always seeing them and talking with them and getting 
advice from them. But she never came across with any • 
goods from them. The spirits couldn't tell her where the '' 
old man could nail a job or find a gold mine or mark an 
eight-spot in Chinese lottery. Not on your life. The 
bunk they told her was that the old man's uncle had had 
a goitre, or that the old man's grandfather had died of 
galloping consumption, or that we were going to move 
house inside four months, which last was dead easy, seeing 
as we moved on an average of six times a year." 
. I think, had Oppenheimer had the opportunity for 



162 THE STAB KOVER 

thorough education, he would have made a Marinetti or a 

Haeckel. He was an earth-man in his devotion to the 

irrefragable fact, and his logic was admirable though 

frosty. '"You've got to show me," was the ground rule 

I by which he considered all things. He lacked the slightest 

. iota of faith. This w^as what Morrell had pointed out. 

jSC I Lack of faith had prevented Oppenheimer from succeeding 

I in achieving the little death in the jacket. 

You will see, my reader, that it was not all hopelessly 
bad in solitary. Given three minds such as ours, there 
was much with which to while away the time. It might 
well be that we kept one another from insanity, although 
I must admit that Oppenheimer rotted five years in soli- 
tary entirely by himself, ere Morrell joined him, and yet 
had remained sane. 

On the other hand, do not make the mistake of thinking 
that life in solitary was one wild orgy of blithe communion 
and exhilarating psychological research. 

We had much and terrible pain. Our guards were 
brutes — your hang-dogs, citizen. Our surroundings were 
^^j.vile^ Our food was filthy, monotonous, innutritious. 
X" /OTily^Tnp.Ti- by force of will, could live on so unbalanced a 
C^ration. I know that our prize cattle, pigs, and sheep on 
the University Demonstration Farm at Davis would have 
faded away and died had they received no more scientif- 
ically balanced a ration than what we received. 

We had no books to read. Our very knuckle-talk was 
a violation of the rules. The world, so far as we were 
concerned, practically did not exist. It was more a ghost- 
world. Oppenheimer, for instance, had never seen an 
iautomobile or a motor-cycle. JSTews did occasionally fil- 
ter in — but such dim, long-after-the-event, unreal news. 
Oppenheimer told me he had not learned of the Eusso- 
Japanese War until two years after it was over. 

We were the buried alive, the living dead. Solitary 



THE STAR ROVER 163 

was our tomb, in which, on occasion, we talked with our 
knuckles like spirits rapping at a seance. 

News ? Such little things were news to us. A change 
of bakers — we could tell it by our bread. What made 
Pie-Eace Jones lay off a week? Was it vacation or 
sickness? Why was Wilson, on the night shift for only 
ten days, transferred elsewhere? Where did Smith get 
that black eye ? We would speculate for a week over so 
trivial a thing as the last. 

Some convict, given a month in solitary, was an event. 
And yet we could learn nothing from such transient and 
ofttimes stupid Dantes who would remain in our inferno 
too short a time to learn knuckle-talk ere they went forth 
again into the bright wide world of the living. 

Still again, all was not so trivial in our abode of 
shadows. As example, I taught Oppenheimer to play 
chess. Consider how tremendous such an achievement is 
— to teach a man, thirteen cells away, by means of 
knuckle-raps; to teach him to visualize a chessboard, to i W. 
visualize all the pieces, pawns and positions, to know the 
various manners of moving; and to teach him it all so 
thoroughly that he and I, by pure visualization, were in 
the end able to play entire games of chess in our minds, i 
In the end, did I say ? Another tribute to the magnifi- I 
cence of Oppenheimer's mind: in the end he became my:/ 
master at the game — he who had never seen a chessmanj/ 
in his life. 

What image of a bishop, for instance, could possibly 
form in his mind when I rapped our code-sign for bishop ?■■ 
In vain and often I asked him this very question. In vain 
he tried to describe in words that mental image of some- 
thing he had never seen but which nevertheless he was able 
to handle in such masterly fashion as to bring confusion 
upon me countless times in the course of play. 

I can only contemplate such exhibitions of will and 



164 THE STAR EOVER 

spirit and conclude, as I so often conclude, that precisely 
there resides reality. The spirit only is real. The flesh 
is phantasmagoric and apparitional. I ask you how — 
I repeat, I ask you how matter or flesh in any form can 
play chess on an imaginary board, with imaginary pieces, 
across a vacuum of thirteen cells spanned only with 
knuckle-taps ? 



CHAPTER XV, 

I WAS once Adam Strang, an Englishman. The period 
of my living, as near as I can guess it, was somewhere be- 
tween 1550 and 1650, and I lived to a ripe old age, as 
you shall see. It has been a great regret to me, ever since 
Ed Morrell taught me the way of the little death, that I 
had not been a more thorough student of history. I 
should have been able to identify and place much that is 
obscure to me. As it is, I am compelled to grope and 
guess my way to times and places of my earlier existences. 

A peculiar thing about my Adam Strang existence is 
that I recollect so little of the first thirty years of it. 
Many times, in the jacket, has Adam Strang recrudesced, 
but always he springs into being, fuU-statured, heavy- 
thewed, a full thirty years of age. 

I, Adam Strang, invariably assume my consciousness on 
a group of low, sandy islands somewhere under the equator 
in what must be the western Pacific Ocean. I am always 
at home there, and seem to have been there some time.; 
There are thousands of people on these islands, although 1 
I am the only white man. The natives are a magnificent! 
breed, big-muscled, broad-shouldered, tall. A six-foot Lfti 
man is a commonplace. The king, Eaa Kook, is at least/ 
six inches above six feet, and though he would weigh fully 1 
three hundred pounds, is so equitably proportioned that'^ 
one could not call him fat. Many of his chiefs are as 
large, while the women are not much smaller than the 
men. 

There are numerous islands in the group, over all of 
svhich Eaa Kook is king, although the cluster of islands 

166 



166 THE STAK EOVER 

to the south is restive and occasionally in revolt. These 
natives with whom I live are Polynesian^ I know, because 
their hair is straight and blac5:7 Their skin is a sun- 
warm golden-brown. Their speech, which I speak uncom- 
monly easy, is round and rich and musical, possessing a 
paucity of consonants, being composed principally of 
vowels. They love flowers, music, dancing, and games, 
and are childishly simple and happy in their amusements, 
though cruelly savage in their angers and wars. 

I, Adam Strang, know my past, but do not seem to think: 
much about it. I live in the present. I brood neither 
over past nor future. I am careless, improvident, un- 
cautious, happy out of sheer well being and overplus of 
physical energy. Fish, fruits, vegetables, and seaweed 
— a full stomach — and I am content* I am high in 
.place with Raa Kook, than whom none is higher, not even 
lAbba Taak, who is highest over the priests. ISTo men dare 
lift hand or weapon to me. I am taboo — sacred as the 
sacred canoe house under the floor of which repose the 
^ bones of heaven alone knows how many previous kings of 
Kaa Kook's line. 

—I-^now all about how I happened to be wrecked and be 
there alone of all my ship's company — it was a great 
drowning and a great wind; but I do not moon over the 
catastrophe. When I think back at all, rather do I think 
far back to my childhood at the skirts of my milk-skinned, 
flaxen-haired, buxom English mother. It is a tiny vil- 
lage of a dozen straw-thatched cottages in which I lived. 
I hear again blackbirds and thrushes in the hedges, and 
see again bluebells spilling out from the oak woods and 
over the velvet turf like a creaming of blue water. And 
most of all I remember a great, hairy-fetlocked stallion, 
often led dancing, sidling and nickering down the narrow 
street. I was frightened of the huge beast and always 



^ 



THE STAR EOVEK 167. 

fled screaming to my mother, clutching her skirts and hid- ^ 
ing in them wherever I might find her. 

But enough. The childhood of Adam Strang is not 
what I set out to write. 

I lived for several years on the islands which are name^^x 
less to me, and upon which I am confident I was the first 
white man. I was married to Lei-Lei, the king's sister, 
who was a fraction over six feet and only by that fraction 
topped me. I was a splendid figure of a man, broad- 
shouldered, deep-chested, well set up. Women of any 
race, as you shall see, looked on me with a favoring eye. 
Under my arms, sun-shielded, my skin was milk-white as 
my mother's. My eyes were blue. My mustache, beard, 
and hair were that golden-yellow such as one sometimes 
sees in paintings of the northern sea-kings. Ay — I must 
have come of that old stock, long-settled in England, and, 
though bom in a countryside cottage, the sea still ran so 
salt in my blood that I early found my way to ships to 
become a sea-cuny. That is what I was — neither offi- 
cer nor gentleman, but sea-cuny, hard-worked, hard-bitten, 
hard-enduring. 

I was of value to Eaa Kook, hence his royal protection. 
I could work in iron, and our wrecked ship had brought 
the first iron to Raa Eook's land. On occasion, ten. 
leagues to the northwest, we went in canoes to get iron 
from the wreck. The hull had slipped off the reef and lay 
in fifteen fathoms. And in fifteen fathoms we brought 
up the iron. Wonderful divers and workers under water 
were these natives. I learned to do my fifteen fathoms, 
but never could I equal them in their fishy exploits. On^ 
the land, by virtue of my English training and my; 
strength, I could throw any of them. Also, I taught them ^ 
quarter-staff, until the game became a very contagion and 
broken heads anything but novelties. 



168 THE STAR EOVER 

Brouglit up from tlie wreck was a journal, so torn and 
mushed and pulped by the sea-water, with ink so run 
about, that scarcely any of it was decipherable. However, 
in the hope that some antiquarian scholar may be able to 
place more definitely the date of the events I shall de- 
scribe, I here give an extract. The peculiar spelling may 
give the clew. Note that while the letter s is used, it more 
commonly is replaced by the letter /. 

The wind being favorable, gave us an opportunity 
of examining and drying some of our provifion, par- 
ticularly, fome Chinefe hams and dry fifh, which corir 
ftituted part of our victualling. Divine service alfo 
was performed on deck. In the afternoon the wind 
was foutherly, with frefh gales, but dry, fo that we 
were able the following morning to clean between 
decks, and alfo to fumigate the fhip with gunpowder. 

But I must hasten, for my narrative is not of Adam 
Strang the shipwrecked sea-cuny on a coral isle, but of 
Adam Strang, later named Yi Yong-ik, the Mighty One, 
who was one time favorite of the powerful Yunsan, who 
was lover and husband of the Lady Om of the princely 
house of Min, and who was long time beggar and pariah! 
in all the villages of all the coasts and roads of Cho-Sen. 
(Ah, ha, I have you there — Cho-Sen. It means the land 
of the morning calm. In modern speech it is called 
Korea.) 

Eemember, it was between three and four centuries 
back that I lived, the first white man, on the coral isles 
of Eaa Kook. In those waters, at that time, the keels of 
ships were rare. I might well have lived out my days 
there, in peace and fatness, under the sun where frost was 
not, had it not been for the Spanvehr. The Sparwehr 
was a Dutch merchantman daring the uncharted seas for 



THE STAR EOVER 169 

Indies beyond the Indies. And she found me instead, 
and I was all she found. 

Have I not said that I was a gay-hearted, golden- 
bearded giant of an irresponsible boy that had never grown 
up ? With scarce a pang, when the Sparivehrs water 
casks were filled, I left Eaa Kook and his pleasant land, 
left Lei-Lei and all her flower-garlanded sisters, and with 
laughter on my lips and familiar ship-smells sweet in my 
nostrils, sailed away, sea-cuny once more, under Captain 
Johannes Maartens. 

A marvelous wandering, that which followed on the old 
Sparwehr. We were in quest of new lands of silks and 
spices. In truth, we found fevers, violent deaths, pesti- 
lential paradises where death and beauty kept charnel- 
house together. That old Johannes Maartens, with no 
hint of romance in that stolid face and grizzly square head 
of his, sought the islands of Solomon, the mines of Gol- 
conda — ay, he sought old lost Atlantis which he hoped 
to find still afloat unscuppered. And he found head- 
hunting, tree-dwelling anthropophagi instead. 

We landed on strange islands, sea-pounded on their 
shores and smoking at their summits, where kinky-haired 
little animal-men made monkey-wailings in the jungle, 
planted their forest run-ways with thorns and stake-pits, 
and blew poisoned splinters into us from out the twilight 
jungle hush. And whatsoever man of us was wasp-stung 
by such a splinter died horribly and howling. And we 
encountered other men, fiercer, bigger, who faced us on 
the beaches in open fight, showering us with spears and 
arrows, while the great tree-drums and the little tom-toms 
rumbled and rattled war across the tree-filled hollows and 
all the hills were pillared with signal-smokes. 

Hendrik Hamel was supercargo and part owner of tHe 
Sparwehr adventure, and what he did not own was the 
property^ of Captain Johannes Maartens. The latter 



170 THE STAK EOVER 

spoke little English, Hendrik Hamel but little more. THe 
sailors, with whom I gathered, spoke Dutch only. But 
trust a sea-cuny to learn Dutch — ay, and Korean, as you 
shall see. 

Toward the end, we came to the charted country of 
Japan. But the people would have no dealings with us, 
and two-sworded officials, in sweeping robes of silk that 
made Captain Johannes Maartens' mouth water, came 
aboard of us and politely requested us to begone. Under 
their suave manners was the iron of a warlike race, and 
we knew, and went our way. 

We crossed the Straits of Japan and were entering the 
Yellow Sea on our way to China, when we laid the Spar- 
wehr on the rocks. She was a crazy tub, the old Sparwehr, 
so clumsy and so dirty with whiskered marine-life on her 
bottom that she could not get out of her own way. Close- 
hauled, the closest she could come was to six points of the 
wind ; and then she bobbed up and down, without way, like 
a derelict turnip. Galliots were clippers compared with 
her. To tack her about was undreamed of; to wear her 
required all hands and half a watch. So situated, we were 
caught on a lee shore in an eight-point shift of wind at the 
height of a hurricane that had beaten our souls sick for 
forty-eight hours. 

We drifted in upon the land in the chill light of a 
stormy dawn across a heartless cross-sea mountain high. 
It was dead of winter, and between smoking snow-squalla 
we could glimpse the forbidding coast, if coast it might be 
called, so broken was it. There were grim rock isles and 
islets beyond counting, dim snow-covered ranges beyond, 
and everywhere upstanding cliffs too steep for snow, out 
juts of headlands, and pinnacles and slivers of rock u 
thrust from the boiling sea. 

There was no name to this country on which we drove, 
no record of it ever having been visited by navigators. 



1 



Its coast-line was only hinted at in our chart. !From all 
of which we could argue that the inhabitants were as in- 
hospitable as the little of their land we could see. 

The Sparivehr drove in bow-on upon a cliff. There was 
deep water to its sheer foot, so that our sky-aspiring bow- 
sprit crumpled at the impact and snapped short off. The 
foremast went by the board, with a great snapping of rope- 
shrouds and stays, and fell forward against the cliff. 

I have always admired old Johannes Maartens. 
"Washed and rolled off the high poop by a burst of sea, we 
were left stranded in the waist of the ship, whence we 
fought our way for'ard to the steep-pitched forecastle- 
head. Others joined us. We lashed ourselves fast and 
counted noses. We were eighteen. The rest had per- 
ished. 

Johannes Maartens touched me and pointed upward 
through cascading salt-water from the back-fling of the 
cliff. I saw what he desired. Twenty feet below the 
truck, the foremast ground and crunched against a boss of 
the cliff. Above the boss was a cleft. He wanted to 
know if I would dare the leap from the mast-head into the 
cleft. Sometimes the distance was a scant six feet. At 
other times it was a score, for the mast reeled drunkenly 
to the rolling and pounding of the hull on which rested its 
splintered butt. 

I began the climb. But they did not wait. One by 
one they unlashed themselves and followed me up the 
perilous mast. There was reason for haste, for at any 
moment the Sparwehr might slip off into deep water. I 
timed my leap, and made it, landing in the cleft in a 
scramble and ready to lend a hand to those who leaped 
after. It was slow work. We were wet and half freezing 
in the wind-drive. Besides, the leaps had to be timed to 
the roll of the hull and the sway of the mast. 

The cook was the first to go. He was snapped off the 



172 THE STAK EOVER 

mast-end, and his body performed cartwheels in its fall. 
A fling of sea caught him and crushed him to a pulp 
against the cliff. The cabin boy, a bearded man of twenty- 
odd, lost hold, slipped, swung around the mast, and was 
pinched against the boss of rock. Pinched? The life 
squeezed from him on the instant. Two others followed 
the way of the cook. Captain Johannes Maartens was 
the last, completing the fourteen of us that clung on in the 
cleft. An hour afterward the Sparwehr slipped off and 
sank in deep water. 

Two days and nights saw us near to perishing on that 
cliff, for there was way neither up nor do"wn. The third 
morning a fishing boat found us. The men were clad en- 
tirely in dirty white, with their long hair done up in a 
curious knot on their pates — the marriage knot, as I was 
afterward to learn, and also, as I was to learn, a handy 
thing to clutch hold of with one hand whilst you clouted 
with the other when an argument went beyond words. 

The boat went back to the village for help, and most of 
the villagers, most of their gear, and most of the day were 
required to get us down. They were a poor and wretched 
folk, their food difiicult even for the stomach of a sea-cuny 
to countenance. Their rice was brown as chocolate. Half 
the husks remained in it, along with bits of chaff, splinters, 
and unidentifiable dirt which made one pause often in the 
chewing in order to stick into his mouth thumb and fore- < 
finger and pluck out the offending stuff. Also, they ate a 
sort of millet, and pickles of astounding variety and un- 
godly hot. 

Their houses were earthen-walled and straw thatched. 
Under the floors ran flues through which the kitchen smoke 
escaped, warming the sleeping room in its passage. Here 
we lay and rested for days, soothing ourselves with their 
mild and tasteless tobacco which we smoked in tiny bowls 
at the end of yard-long pipes. Also, there was a warm, 



THE STAR EOVER 173 

sourish, milky-looking drink, heady only when taken in 
enormous doses. After guzzling I swear gallons of it, I got 
singing drunk, which is the way of sea-cunies the world 
over. Encouraged by my success, the others persisted, 
and soon we were all a-roaring, little recking of the fresh 
snow gale piping outside, and little worrying that we were 
cast away in an uncharted God-forgotten land. Old 
Johannes Maartens laughed and trumpeted and slapped 
his thighs with the best of us. Hendrik Hamel, a cold- 
blooded, chilly-poised, dark brunette of a Dutchman with 
beady black eyes, was as rarely devilish as the rest of us, 
and shelled out silver like any drunken sailor for the pur- 
chase of more of the milky brew. Our carrying on was a 
scandal; but the women fetched the drink while all the 
village that could crowd in jammed the room to witness 
our antics. 

The white man has gone around the world in mastery j^ 

I do believe because of his unwise uncaringness. That 
has been the manner of his going, although, of course, he 
was driven on by restiveness and lust for booty. So it 
was that Captain Johannes Maartens, Hendrik Hamel, 
and the twelve sea-cunies of us roystered and bawled in 
the fisher village while the winter gales whistled across the 
Yellow Sea. 

Erom the little we had seen of the land and the people, 
we were not impressed by Cho-Sen. If these miserable 
fishers were a fair sample of the natives, we could under- 
stand why the land was unvisited by navigators. But we 
were to learn different. The village was on an in-lying 
island, and its head man must have sent word across to 
the mainland; for, one morning, three big two-masted 
junks with lateens of rice-matting, dropped anchor off the 
beach. 

When the sampans came ashore, Captain Johannes 
Maartens was all interest, for here were silks again. One 
strapping Korean, all in pale-tinted silks of various colors, 



174 THE STAE HOVER 

was surrounded by half a dozen obsequious attendants also 
clad in silk. Kwan Yung-jin, as I came to know his name, 
was a yang-han, or noble ; also, he was what might be called 
magistrate or governor of the district or province. This 
means that his office was appointive, and that he was a 
tithe-squeezer or tax-farmer. 

Eully a hundred soldiers were also landed and marched 
into the village. They were armed with three-pronged 
spears, slicing spears, and chopping spears, with here and 
there a matchlock of so heroic mold that there were two 
soldiers to a matchlock, one to carry and set the tripod 
on which rested the muzzle, the other to carry and fire the 
gun. As I was to learn, sometimes the gun went off, 
sometimes it did not, all depending upon the adjustment 
of the fire-punk and the condition of the powder in the 
flash pan. 

So it was that Kwan Yung-jin traveled. The headmen 
of the village were cringingly afraid of him, and for good 
reason, as we were not overlong in finding out. I stepped 
forward as interpreter, for already I had the hang of 
several score of Korean words. He scowled and waved me 
aside-.--- ^But what did I reck? I_,was as tall as he, out' 
weighed him by a full two-stone, and my skin was white, 
my hair golden. He turned his back and addressed the 
head man of the village while his six silken satellites made 
a cordon between us. While he talked, more soldiers from 
the ship carried up several shoulder-loads of inch-planking. 
These planks were about six feet long and two feet wide, 
and curiously split in half lengthwise. Nearer one end 
than the other was a round hole larger than a man's neck. 

Kwan Yung-jin gave a command. Several of the sol- 
diers approached Tromp, who was sitting on the ground 
nursing a felon. Now Tromp was a rather stupid, slow- 
thinking, slow-moving cuny, and before he knew what was 
doing, one of the planks, with a scissors-like opening and 



THE STAR ROVER 175 

closing, was about his neck and clamped. Discovering his 
predicament, he set up a bull-roaring and dancing, till all 
had to back away to give him clear space for the flying 
ends of his plank. 

Then the trouble began, for it was plainly Kwan Yung- 
jin's intention to plank all of us. Oh, we fought, bare- 
fisted with a hundred soldiers and as many villagers, while 
Kwan Yung-jin stood apart in his silks and lordly dis- 
dain. Here was where I earned my name, Yi Yong-ik, 
the Mighty. Long after our company was subdued and 
planked, I fought on. My fists were of the hardness of 
topping-mauls, and I had the muscles and will to drive 
them. 

To my joy, I quickly learned that the Koreans did not 
understand a fist-blow and were without the slightest na- 
tion of guarding. They went down like tenpins, fell over 
each other in heaps. But Kwan Yung-jin was my man, 
and all that saved him when I made my rush was the in- 
tervention of his satellites. They were flabby creatures. 
I made a mess of them and a muss and muck of their 
silks ere the multitude could return upon me. There were 
so many of them. They clogged my blows by the sheer 
numbers of them, those behind shoving the front ones 
upon me. And how I dropped them! Toward the end 
they were squirming three-deep under my feet. But by 
the time the crews of the three junks and most of the vil- 
lage were on top of me I was fairly smothered. The 
planking was easy. 

" God in heaven, what now ? " asked Vandervoot, an- 
other cuny, when we had been bundled aboard a junk. 

We sat on the open deck, like so many trussed fowls, 
when he asked the question, and the next moment, as the 
junk heeled to the breeze, we shot down the deck, planks 
and all, fetching up in the lee-scuppers with skinned necks. 
And from the high poop, Kwan Yung-jin gazed down at 



176 THE STAR ROVER 

us as if he did not see us. For many years to come, Van- 
dervoot was known amongst us as " What-Now Vander- 
voot." Poor devil. He froze to death one night on the 
streets of Keijo with every door barred against him. 

To the mainland we were taken and thrown into a 
stinking, vermin-infested prison. Such was our introduc- 
tion to the officialdom of Cho-Sen. But I was to be re- 
venged for all of us on Kwan Yung-jin, as you shall see, 
in the days when the Lady Om was kind and power was 
mine. 

In prison we lay for many days. "We learned after- 
ward the reason. Kwan Yung-jin had sent a dispatch to 
Keijo, the capital, to find what royal disposition was to 
be made of us. In the meantime we were a menagerie. 
From dawn till dark our barred windows were besieged 
by the natives, for no member of our race had they ever 
seen before. Nor was our audience mere rabble. Ladies, 
borne in palanquins on the shoulders of coolies,, came to see 
the strange devils cast up by the sea, and while their at- 
tendants drove back the common folk with whips, they 
would gaze long and timidly at us. Of them we saw lit- 
tle, for their faces were covered according to the custom 
of the country. Only dancing girls, low women, and 
...^granddams ever were seen abroad with exposed faces. 

I have often thought that Kwan Yung-jin suffered from 

, indigestion, and that when the attacks were acute he took 

it out on us. /At any rate, without rhjTne or reason, when- 

<^^ ever the whim came to him, we were all taken out on the 

street before the prison and well-beaten with sticks to the 

^-t gleeful shouts of the multitude. The Asiatic is a cruel 

Ijeast, and delights in spectacles of human suffering. 

." At any rate we were pleased when an end to our beat- 

y^ings came. This was caused by the arrival of Kim. 

^ TKim? All I can say, and the best I can say, is that he 

mag the whitest man I ever encountered in Cho-Sen. He 



THE STAK EOVER 177, 

•was a captain of fifty men when I met him. He was in i 
command of the palace guards before I was done doing ^ 
my best by him. And in the end he died for the Lady ' 
Om's sake and for mine. Kim — well, Kim was Kim.^,-' 

Immediately he arrived, the planks were taken from 
our necks and we were lodged in the best inn the place 
boasted. We were still prisoners, but honorable prisoners, 
with a guard of fifty mounted soldiers. The next day we 
were under way on the royal highroad, fourteen sailormen 
astride the dwarf horses that obtain in Cho-Sen, and bound 
for Keijo itself. The Emperor, so Kim told me, had ex- 
pressed a desire to gaze upon the strangeness of the sea 
devils. 

It was a journey of many days, half the length of Cho- 
Sen, north and south as it lies. It chanced, at the first 
off-saddling, that I strolled around to witness the feeding 
of the dwarf horses. And what I witnessed set me bawl- 
ing " What now, Vandervoot ? " till all our crew came 
running. As I am a living man, what the horses were 
feeding on was bean soup, hot bean soup at that, and 
naught else did they have on all the journey but hot bean 
soup. It was the custom of the country. 

They were truly dwarf horses. On a wager with Kim, 
I lifted one, despite' his squeals and struggles, squarely 
across my shoulders, so that Kim's men, who had already 
heard my new name, called me Yi Yong-ik, the Mighty 
One. Kim was a large man as Koreans go, and Koreans . 
are a tall muscular race, and Kim fancied himself a bit. 
But, elbow to elbow and palm to palm, I put his ama 
down at will. And his soldiers and the gaping villagers! 
would look on and murmur " Yi Yong-ik." 

In a way, we were a traveling menagerie. The word 
went on ahead, so that all the country folk flocked to the 
roadside to see us pass. It was an unending circus pro- 
cession. In the towns at night our inns were besieged by 



-4 



178 THE STAK ROVER 

multitudes, so that we got no peace until the soldiers drove 
them off with lance-pricks and blows. But first, Kim 
would call for the village strong men and wrestlers for the 
fun of seeing me crumple them and put them in the dirt. 

Bread there was none, but we ate white rice (the 
strength of which resides in one's muscles not long), af 
meat which we found to be dog (which animal is regularly 
butchered for food in Cho-Sen), and the pickles ungodly 
hot but which one learns to like exceeding well. And 
there was drink, real drink, not milky slush, but white, 
biting stuff distilled from rice, a pint of which would kill 
a weakling and make a strong man mad and merry. At 
the walled city of Chong-ho I put Kim and the city nota- 
bles under the table with the stuff — or on the table, 
rather, for the table was the floor where we squatted to 
cramp-knots in my hams for the thousandth time. And 
again all muttered " Yi Yong-ik," and the word of my 
prowess passed on before even to Keijo and the Em- 
peror's Court. 

I was more an honored guest than a prisoner, and in- 
variably I rode by Kim's side, my long legs near reach- 
ing the ground, and, where the going was deep, my feet 
scraping the muck. Kim was young. Kim was human. 
Kim was universal. He was a man anywhere in any 
country. He and I talked and laughed and joked the 
day long and half the night. And I verily ate up the 
language. I had a gift that way anyway. Even Kim 
marveled at the way I mastered the idiom. And I learned 
the Korean points of view, the Korean humor, the Korean 
soft places, weak places, touchy places. Kim taught me 
flower songs, love songs, drinking songs. One of the lat- 
ter was his own, of the end of which I shall give you a 
crude attempt at translation. Kim and Pak, in their 
youth, swore a pact to abstain from drinking, which pact 
was speedily broken. In old age Kim and Pak sing : 



THE STAR ROVER 179 

" No, no, begone ! The merry bowl 
Again shall bolster up my soul 
Against itself. What, good man, hold! 
Canst tell me where red wine is sold? 
Nay, just beyond yon peach-tree? There? 
Good luck be thine; I'll thither fare." 

Hendrik Hamel, scheming and crafty, ever encouraged 
and urged me in my antic course that brought Kim's favor, 
not alone to me, but through me to Hendrik Hamel and 
all our company. I here mention Hendrik Hamel as my 
adviser, for it has a bearing on much that followed at 
Keijo in the winning of Yusan's favor, the Lady Om's 
heart, and the Emperor's tolerance. I had the will and 
the fearlessness for the game I played, and some of the 
wit; but most of the wit I freely admit was supplied me 
by Hendrik Hamel. 

And so we journeyed up to Keijo, from walled city to 
walled city across a snowy mountain land that was hol- 
lowed with innumerable fat farming valleys. And every 
evening, at fall of day, beacon fires sprang from peak to 
peak and ran along the land. Always Kim watched for 
this nightly display. Erom all the coasts of Cho-Sen, Kim 
told me, those chains of fire-speech ran to Keijo to carry 
their message to the Emperor. One beacon meant the 
land was in peace. Two beacons meant revolt or invasion. 
We never saw but one beacon. And ever, as we rode, Van- 
dervoot brought up the rear, wondering, " God in heaven, 
what now ? " 

Keijo we found a vast city where all the population, 
with the exception of the nobles or yang-bans, dressed in 
the eternal white. This, Kim explained, was an auto- 
matic determination and advertisement of caste. Thus, 
at a glance, could one tell the status of an individual by 
the degrees of cleanliness or of filthiness of his garments. 
It stood to reason that a coolie, possessing but the clothes 
he stood up in, must be extremely dirty. And to reason 



^180 THE STAR ROVER 

it stood that the individual in immaculate white must 
possess many changes and command the labor of laun- 
dresses to keep his changes immaculate. As for the yang- 
bans who wore the pale varicolored silks, they were be- 
yond such common yardstick of place. 

After resting in an inn for several days, during which 
time we washed our garments and repaired the ravages of 
shipwreck and travel, we were summoned before the Em- 
peror. In the great open space before the palace wall 
were colossal stone dogs that looked more like tortoises. 
They crouched on massive stone pedestals of twice the 
height of a tall man. The walls of the palace were huge 
and of dressed stone. So thick were these walls that they 
could defy a breach from the mightiest of cannon in a 
year-long siege. The mere gateway was of the size of 
a palace in itself, rising pagoda-like, in many retreating 
stories, each story fringed with tile-roofing. A smart 
guard of soldiers turned out at the gateway. These, Kim 
told me, were the Tiger Hunters of Pyeng-yang, the 
j6.ercest and most terrible fighting men of which Cho-Sen 
could boast. 

But enough. On mere description of the Emperor's 
palace a thousand pages of my narrative could be worthily 
expended. Let it suffice that here we knew power in all 
its material expression. Only a civilisation deep and 
wide and old and strong could produce this far-walled, 
many-gabled roof of kings. 

To no audience hall were we sea-cunies led, but, as we 
took it, to a feasting hall. The feasting was at its end, 
and all the throng was in a merry mood. And such a 
throng! High dignitaries, princes of the blood, sworded 
nobles, pale priests, weather-tanned officers of high com- 
mand, court ladies with faces exposed, painted hi-sang or 
dancing girls who rested from entertaining, and duennas. 



THE STAE ROVER 181 

waiting women, eunuchs^ lackeys, and palace slaves a 
myriad of them. 

All fell away from us, however, when the Emperor, 
with a following of intimates, advanced to look us over. 
He was a merry monarch, especially so for an Asiatic. 
'Not more than forty, with a clear, pallid skin that had 
never known the sun, he was paunched and weak-legged. 
Yet he had once been a fine man. The noble forehead 
attested that. But the eyes were bleared and weak-lidded, 
the lips twitching and trembling from the various excesses 
in which he indulged, which excesses, as I was to learn, 
were largely devised and pandered by Yunsan, the Bud- 
dhist priest, of whom more anon. 

In our sea-garments we mariners were a motley crew, 
and motley was the cue of our reception. Exclamations 
of wonder at our strangeness gave way to laughter. The 
ki-sang invaded us, dragging us about, making prisoners 
of us, two or three of them to one of us, leading us about 
like so many dancing bears and putting us through our 
antics. It was offensive, true, but what could poor sea- 
cunies do ? What could old Johannes Maartens do, with! 
a bevy of laughing girls about him, tweaking his nose, 
pinching his arms, tickling his ribs till he pranced. To 
escape such torment, Hans Amden cleared a space and gave 
a clumsy-footed Hollandish breakdown till all the Court 
roared its laughter. 

It was offensive to me who had been equal and boon 
companion of Kim for many days. I resisted the laugh- 
ing ki-sang. I braced my legs and stood upright with 
folded arms ; nor could pinch or tickle bring a quiver from 
me. Thus they abandoned me for easier prey. 

" For God's sake, man, make an impression," Hendrik 
Hamel, who had struggled to me with three ki-sang drag- 
ging behind, mumbled. 



a.82 THE STAK ROVEE 

Well might he mumble, for whenever he opened his 
mouth to speak thej crammed it with sweets. 

" Save us from this folly/' he persisted, ducking his 
head about to avoid their sweets-filled palms. " We must 
have dignity, understand, dignity. This will ruin us. 
They are making tame animals of us, playthings. When 
they grow tired of us they will throw us out. You're 
doing the right thing. Stick to it. Stand them ofi. 
Command respect, respect for all of us — " 

The last was barely audible, for by this time the ki-sang 
had stuffed his mouth to speechlessness. 

As I have said, I had the will and the fearlessness, and 
I racked my sea-cuny brains for the wit. A palace 
eunuch, tickling my neck with a feather from behind, 
gave me my start. I had already drawn attention to my 
aloofness and imperviousness to the attacks of the ki- 
sang, so that many were looking on at the eunuch's baiting 
of me. I gave no sign, made no move, until I had located 
him and distanced him. Then, like a shot, without turn- 
ing head or body, merely by my arm, I fetched him an 
open, back-handed slap. My knuckles landed flat on his 
cheek and jaw. There was a crack like a spar parting in 
a gale. He was bowled clean over, landing in a heap on 
the floor a dozen feet away. 

There was no laughter, only cries of surprise and mur- 
murings and whisperings of " Yi Yong-ik." Again I 
folded my arms and stood with a fine assumption of 
haughtiness. I do believe that I, Adam Strang, had 
among other things the soul of an actor in me. For see 
what follows. I was now the most significant of our com- 
pany. Proud-eyed, disdainful, I met unwavering the eyes 
upon me and made them drop or turn away — all eyes but 
one. These were the eyes of a young woman, whom I 
judged, by richness of dress and by the half dozen women 
fluttering at her back, to be a court lady of distinction. 



THE STAR EOVER 183 

In tnitE, she was the Ladj Om, princess of the house of 
Min. Did I say young? She was fully my own age, 
thirty, and for all that and her ripeness and beauty a 
princess still unmarried, as I was to learn. 

She alone looked me in the eyes without wavering, until 
it was I who turned away. She did not look me do^vn, 
for there was neither challenge nor antagonism in her 
eyes — only fascination. I was loth to admit this de- 
feat by one small woman, and my eyes, turning aside, 
lighted on the disgraceful rout of my comrades and the 
trailing ki-sang and gave me the pretext. I clapped my 
hands in the Asiatic fashion when one gives command. 

" Let be ! " I thundered in their own language, and in 
the form one addresses underlings. 

Oh, I had a chest and a throat, and could bull-roar to 
the hurt of ear-drums. I warrant so loud a command 
had never before cracked the sacred air of the Emperor's 
palace. 

The great room was aghast. The women were startled, 
and pressed toward one another as for safety. The ki- 
sang released the cunies and shrank away giggling appre- 
hensively. Only the Lady Om made no sign nor motion 
but continued to gaze wide-eyed into my eyes which had 
returned to hers. 

Then fell a great silence, as if all waited some word of 
doom. A multitude of eyes timidly stole back and forth 
from the Emperor to me and from me to the Emperor. 
And I had wit to keep the silence and to stand there, arms 
folded, haughty and remote. 

" He speaks our language," quoth the Emperor at the 
last ; and I swear there was such a relinquishment of held 
breaths that the whole room was one vast sigh. 

" I was bom with this language," I replied, my cuny 
\vit3 running rashly to the first madness that prompted. 
-' I spoke it at my mother's breast. I was the marvel of 



184 THE STAK EOVER 

my land. Wise men journeyed far to see me and to hear. 
But no man knew the words I spoke. In the many 
years I have forgotten much, but now, in . Cho-Sen, the 
M'ords come back like long lost friends." 

An impression I certainly made. The Emperor 
swallowed and his lips twitched ere he asked: 

" How explain you this ? " 

" I am an accident," I answered, following the wayward 
lead my wit had opened. " The gods of birth were care- 
less, and I was mislaid in a far land and nursed by an 
alien people. I am Korean, and now, at last, I have come 
to my home." 

What an excited whispering and conferring took place. 
The Emperor himself interrogated Kim. 

" He was always thus, our speech in his mouth, from 
the time he came out of the sea," Kim lied like the good 
fellow he was. 

" Bring me yang-ban's garments as befits me," I in- 
terrupted, " and you shall see." As I was led away in 
compliance, I turned on the ki-sang. " And leave my 
slaves alone. They have journeyed far and are weary. 
They are my faithful slaves." 

In another room Kim helped me change, sending the 
lackeys away; and quick and to the point was the dress 
rehearsal he gave me. He knew no more toward what I 
drove than did I, but he was a good fellow. 

The funny thing, once back in the crowd and spouting 
Korean which I claimed was rusty from long disuse, was 
that Hendrik Hamel and the rest, too stubborn-tongued to 
learn new speech, did not know a word I uttered. 

" I am of the blood of the house of Koryu," I told the 
Emperor, " that ruled at Songdo many a long year agone 
when my house arose on the ruins of Silla." 

Ancient history, all, told me by Kim on the long ride, 



THE STAK EOVER 185 

and he struggled with his face to hear me parrot his teach- 
ing. 

" These," I said, when the Emperor had asked me about 
my company, " these are my slaves, all except that old 
churl there," I indicated Johannes Maartens, " who is 
the son of a freed man." I told Hendrik Hamel to ap- 
proach. " This one," I wantoned on, " was born in my 
father's house of a seed slave who was born there before 
him. He is very close to me. We are of an age, born 
on the same day, and on that day my father gave him 
me." 

Afterwards, when Hendrik Hamel was eager to know 
all that I had said, and when I told him, he reproached 
me and was in a pretty rage. 

" The fat's in the fire, Hendrik," quoth I. " What I 
have done has been out of witlessness and the need to be 
saying something. But done it is. Nor you nor I can 
pluck forth the fat. We must act our parts and make 
the best of it." 

I Taiwun, the Emperor's brother, was a sot of sots, and 
as the night wore on he challenged me to a drinking. The 
Emperor was delighted, and commanded a dozen of the 
noblest sots to join in the bout. The women were dis- 
missed, and we went to it, drink for drink, measure for 
measure. Kim I kept by me, and midway along, de- 
spite Hendrik Hamel's warning scowls, I dismissed him 
and the company, first requesting, and obtaining^ palace 
lodgment instead of the inn. 

ISText day the palace was a-buzz with my feat, for I had 
put Taiwun and all his champions snoring on the mats 
and walked unaided to my bed. l^ever, in the days of 
vicissitude that came later, did Taiwun doubt my claim 
of Korean birth. Only a Korean, he averred, could 
possess so strong a head. 



l186 the STAE EOVER 

The palace was a city in itself, and we were lodged in si 
sort of summer house that stood apart. The princely 
quarters were mine, of course, and Hamel and Maartens 
with the rest of the grumbling cunies had to content them- 
selves with what remained. 

I was summoned before Yunsan, the Buddhist priest I 
have mentioned. It was his first glimpse of me and my 
first of him. Even Kim he dismissed from me, and we 
sat alone on deep mats in a twilight room. Lord, Lord, 
what a man and a mind was Yunsan ! He made to probe 
my soul. He knew things of other lands and places that 
no one in Cho-Sen dreamed to know. Did he believe my 
fabled birth ? I could not guess, for his face was less 
changeful than a bowl of bronze. 

What Yunsan's thoughts were only Yunsan knew. But 
in him, this poor-clad, lean-bellied priest, I sensed the 
power behind power in all the palace and in all Cho-Sen. 
I sensed also, through the drift of speech, that he had use 
of me. !Now was this use suggested by the Lady Om? 
— a nut I gave Hendrik Hamel to crack. I little knew, 
and less I cared, for I lived always in the moment and let 
others forecast, forefend, and travail their anxiety. 

I answered, too, the summons of the Lady Om, follow- 
ing a sleek-faced, cat-footed eunuch through quiet palace 
byways to her apartments. She lodged as a princess of 
the blood should lodge. She, too, had a palace to herself, 
among lotus ponds where grew forests of trees centuries 
old but so dwarfed that they reached no higher than my 
middle. Bronze bridges, so delicate and rare that they 
looked as if fashioned by jewel-smiths, spanned her lily 
ponds, and a bamboo grove screened her palace apart 
from all the palace. 

My head was awhirl. Sea-cuny that I was, I was no 
'dolt with women, and I sensed more than idle curiosity in 
her sending for me. I had heard love tales of common 



THE STAR ROVER 18Z 

men and queens, and was a-wondering if now it was my 
fortune to prove such tales true. 

The Lady Om wasted little time. There were women 
about her, but she regarded their presence no more than 
a carter his horses. I sat beside her on deep mats that 
made the room half a couch, and wine was given me and 
sweets to nibble, served on tiny, foot-high tables inlaid 
with pearl. 

Lord, Lord, I had but to look into her eyes — But 
wait. Make no mistake. The Lady Om was no fooL 
I have said she was of my own age. All of thirty she waSy 
with the poise of her years. She knew what she wanted. 
She knew what she did not want. It was because of this 
she had never married, though all pressure that an Asiatic 
court could put upon a woman had been vainly put upon 
her to compel her to marry Chong Mong-ju. He was a 
lesser cousin of the great Min family, himself no fool, 
and grasping so greedily for power as to perturb Yunsan 
who strove to retain all power himself and keep the palace 
and Cho-Sen in ordered balance. Thus, Yunsan it was 
who in secret allied himself with the Lady Om, saved her 
from her cousin, used her to trim her cousin's wings. But 
enough of intrigue. It was long before I guessed a tithe 
of it, and then largely through the Lady Om's confidence 
and Hendrik Hamel's conclusions. 

The Lady Om was a very flower of woman. Women 
such as she are born rarely, scarce twice a century the 
whole world over. She was unhampered by rule or con- 
vention. Religion, with her, was a series of abstractions, 
partly learned from Yunsan, partly worked out for her- 
self. Vulgar religion, the public religion, she held, was a 
device to keep the toiling millions to their toil. She had 
a will of her own, and she had a heart all womanly. She 
was a beauty — yes, a beauty by any set rule of the world. 
Her large black eyes were neither slitted nor slanted in 



V 



188 THE STAR ROVER 

the Asiatic way. They were long, true, but set squarely, 
and with just the slightest hint of obliqueness that was all 
for piquancy. 

I have said she was no fool. Behold. As I palpitated 
to the situation, princess and sea-cuny and love not a little 
that threatened big, I racked my cuny's brains for wit to 
carry the thing off with manhood credit. It chanced, 
early in this first meeting, that I mentioned what I had 
told all the Court, that I was in truth a Korean of the 
blood of the ancient house of Koryu. 

" Let be," she said, tapping my lips with her peacock 
fan. " Xo child's tales here. Know that with me you 
are better and greater than of any house of Koryu. You 
are . . ." 

She paused, and I waited, watching the daring grow 
in her eyes. 

" You are a man," she completed. " Not even in my 
sleep have I ever dreamed there was such a man as you on 
his two legs upstanding in the world." 

Lord, Lord, and what could a poor sea-cuny do? This 
particular sea-cuny, I admit, blushed through his sea tan 
till the Lady Om's eyes were twin pools of roguishness in 
their teasing deliciousness and my arms were all but about 
her. And she laughed tantalizingly and alluringly, and 
clapped her hands for her women, and I knew that the 
audience, for this once, was over. I knew, also, there 
would be other audiences, there must be other audiences. 

Back to Hamel, my head awhirl. 

" The woman," said he, after deep cogitation. He 
looked at me and sighed an envy I could not mistake. 
" It is your brawn, Adam Strang, that bull throat of yours, 
your yellow hair. Well, it's the game, man. Play her, 
and all will be well with us. Play her, and I shall teach 
you how." 

I bristled. Sea-cuny I was, but I was man, and to no 



THE STAE EOVEE 189 

man would I be beholden in my way with women. Hen- 
drik Hamel might be one time part-owner of the old 
Sparwehr, with a navigator's knowledge of the stars and 
deep versed in books, but with women, no, there I would 
not give him better. 

He smiled that thin-lipped smile of his, and queried: 

" How like you the Lady Om ? " 

" In such matters a cuny is naught particular," I tem- 
porized. 

" How like you her ? " he repeated, his beady eyes bor- 
ing into me. 

" Passing well, ay, and more than passing well, if you 
will have it." 

" Then win to her," he commanded, " and some day we 
will get ship and escape from this cursed land. I'd give 
half the silks of the Indies for a meal of Christian food 
again." 

He regarded me intently. 

" Do you think you can win to her ? " he questioned. 

I was half in the air at the challenge. He smiled his 
satisfaction. 

" But not too quickly," he advised. " Quick things are 
cheap things. Put a prize upon yourself. Be chary of 
your kindnesses. Make a value of your bull throat and 
yellow hair, and thank God you have them for they are 
of more worth in a woman's eyes than are the brains of a 
dozen philosophers." 

• Strange whirling days were those that followed, what 
of my audiences with the Emperor, my drinking bouts 
with Tai^\Tin, my conferences with Yunsan, and my hours 
with the Lady Om. Besides, I sat up half the nights, by 
Ilamel's command, learning from Kim all the minutirc of 
court etiquette and manners, the history of Korea and of 
gods old and new, and the forms of polite speech, noble 
speech, and coolie speech. Never was sea-cuny worked 



190 THE STAE ROVER 

so hard. I was a puppet — puppet to Yunsan, who had 
need of me ; puppet to Hamel, who schemed the wit of the 
affair that was so deep that alone I should have drowned. 
Only with the Ladj Om was I man, not puppet . . . and 
yet, and yet, as I look back and ponder across time, I have 
my doubts. I think the Lady Om, too, had her will with 
me, wanting me for her heart's desire. Yet, in this, she 
ivras well met, for it was not long ere she was my heart's 
desire, and such was the immediacy of my will that not 
her will, nor Hendrik Hamel's, nor Yunsan's, could hold 
back my arms from about her. 

In the meantime, however, I was caught up in a palace 
intrigue I could not fathom. I could catch the drift of it, 
no more, against Chong Mong-ju, the princely cousin of 
the Lady Om. Beyond my guessing, there were cliques 
and cliques within cliques that made a labyrinth of the 
palace and extended to all the Seven Coasts. But I did 
not worry. I left that to Hendrik Hamel. To him I 
reported every detail that occurred when he was not with 
me ; and he, with furrowed brows, sitting darkling by the 
hour, like a patient spider unraveled the tangle and spun 
the web afresh. As my body slave, he insisted upon at- 
f tending me everywhere ; being only barred on occasion by 
Yunsan, Of course, I barred him from my moments with 
the Lady Om, but told him in general what passed, with 
exception of tenderer incidents that were not his busi- 
ness. 

I think Hamel was content to sit back and play the 
secret part. He was too cold-blooded not to calculate that 
the risk was mine. If I prospered, he prospered. If I 
crashed to ruin, he might creep out like a ferret. I am 
convinced that he so reasoned, and yet it did not save him 
in the end, as you shall see. 

" Stand by me," I told Kim, " and whatsoever you wish! 
shall be yours. Have you a wish ? " 



THE STAK EOVER IGi 

" I would command tlie Tiger Hunters of Pyeng-Yang, 
and so command the palace guards," he answered. 

" Wait," said I, " and that will you do. I have said it." 

The how of the matter was beyond me. But he who has 
naught can dispense the world in largess ; and I, who had 
naught, gave Kim captaincy of the palace guards. The 
best of it is that I did fulfil my promise. Kim did come 
to command the Tiger Hunters, although it brought him 
to a sad end. 

Scheming and intriguing I left to Hamel and Yunsan,- 
who were the politicians. I was mere man and lover, 
and merrier than theirs was the time I had. Picture it 
to yourself — a hard-bitten, joy-loving sea-cuny, irrespon-: 
sible, unaware ever of past or future, wining and dining 
with kings, the accepted lover of a princess, and with, 
brains like Hamel's and Yunsan's to do all planning and 
executing for me. 

More than once Yunsan almost divined the mind behind 
my mind; but when he probed Hamel, Hamel proved a 
stupid slave, a thousand times less interested in affairs of 
state and policy than was he interested in my health and 
comfort and garrulously anxious about my drinking con- 
tests with Taiwun. I think the Lady Om guessed the 
truth and kept it to herself; wit was not her desire, but, 
as Hamel had said, a bull throat and a man's yellow hair. 

Much that passed between us I shall not relate, though 
the Lady Om is dear dust these centuries. But she was 
not to be denied, nor was I ; and when a man and woman 
will their hearts together heads may fall and kingdoms 
crash and yet they will not forego. 

Came the time when our marriage was mooted — oh, 
quietly, at first, most quietly, as mere palace gossip in 
dark corners between eunuchs and waiting women. But 
in a palace the gossip of the kitchen scullions will creep to 
the throne. Soon there was a pretty to-do. The palace 



192 THE STAR EOVEE 

was the pulse of Cho-Sen, and when the palace rocked, 
Cho-Sen trembled. And there was reason for the rocking. 
Our marriage would be a blow straight between the eyes 
of Chong Mong-ju. He fought, with a show of strength 
for which Yunsan was ready. Chong Mong-ju disaffected 
half the provincial priesthood, until they pilgrimaged in 
processions a mile long to the palace gates and frightened 
the Emperor into a panic. 

But Yunsan held like a rock. The other half of the 
provincial priesthood was his, with, in addition, all the 
priesthood of the great cities such as Keijo, Eusan, Songdo, 
•Pyen-Yang, Chenampo, and Chemulpo. Yunsan and the 
Lady Om, between them, twisted the Emperor right about. 
As she confessed to me afterward, she bullied him with 
tears and hysteria and threats of a scandal that would 
shake the throne. And to cap it all, at the psychological 
moment, Yunsan pandered the Emperor to novelties of 
excess that had been long preparing. 

" You must grow your hair for the marriage knot," 
Yunsan warned me one day, with the ghost of a twinkle in 
his austere eyes, more nearly facetious and human than I 
had ever beheld him. 

'Now it is not meet that a princess espouse a sea-cuny, 
or even a claimant of the ancient blood of Koryu, who is 
without power, or place, or visible symbols of rank. So 
it was promulgated by imperial decrees that I was a prince 
of Koryu. ISText, after breaking his bones and decapi- 
tating the then governor of five provinces, himself an ad- 
herent of Chong Mong-ju, I was made governor of the 
seven home provinces of ancient Koryu. In Cho-Sen 
seven is the magic number. To complete this number, two 
of the provinces were taken over from the hands of two 
more of Chong Mong-ju's adherents. 

Lord, Lord, a sea-cuny — and dispatched north over the 
Mandarin Eoad with five hundred soldiers and a retinue 



THE STAE EOVER 193 

at my back ! I was a governor of seven provinces, "where 
fifty thousand troops awaited me. Life, death, and tor- 
ture, I carried at my disposal. I had a treasury and a 
treasurer, to say nothing of a regiment of scribes. Await- 
ing me also was a full thousand of tax-farmers who 
squeezed the last coppers from the toiling people. 

The seven provinces constituted the northern march. 
Beyond lay what is now Manchuria, but which was known 
by us as the country of the Hong-du, or " Eed Heads."' 
They were wild raiders, on occasion crossing the Yalu in 
great masses and overrunning northern Cho-Sen like lo- 
custs. It was said they were given to cannibal practices. 
I know of experience that they were terrible fighters, most 
difficult to convince of a beating. 

A whirlwind year it was. While Yunsan and the Lady 
Om at Keijo completed the disgrace of Chong Mong-ju, I 
proceeded to make a reputation for myself. Of course 
it was really Hendrik Hamel at my back, but I was the 
fine figure-head that carried it off. Through me, Hamel 
taught our soldiers drill and tactics and taught the Eed 
Heads strategy. The fighting was grand, and though it 
took a year, the year's end saw peace on the northern 
border and no Eed Heads but dead Eed Heads on our 
side the Yalu. 

I do not know if this invasion of the Eed Heads is 
recorded in Western history, but if so it will give a clew 
to the date of the times of which I write. Another clew : 
"when was Hideyoshi the Shogun of Japan ? In my time 
I heard the echoes of the two invasions, a generation be- 
fore, driven by Hideyoshi through the heart of Cho-Sen 
from Fusan in the south to as far north as Pyeng-Yang. 
It was this Hideyoshi who sent back to Japan a myriad 
tubs of pickled ears and noses of Koreans slain in battle. 
I talked with many old men and women who had seen 
the fighting and escaped the pickling. 



194 THE STAE EOVEE 

« 

Back to Keijo and the Lady Om. Lord, Lord, she was 

& woman. For forty years she was my woman. I know. 
!No dissenting voice was raised against the marriage. 
Chong Mong-ju, clipped of power, in disgrace, had re- 
tired to sulk somewhere on the far northeast coast. Yun- 
' san was absolute. Nightly the single beacons flared their 
^message of peace across the land. The Emperor grew 
more weak-legged and blear-eyed what of the ingenious 
deviltries devised for him by Yunsan. The Lady Om 
and I had won to our hearts' desires. Kim was in com- 
mand of the palace guards. Kwan Yung-jin, the pro- 
vincial governor who had planked and beaten us when 
yre were first cast away, I had shorn of power and ban- 
ished forever from appearing within the walls of Keijo. 

Oh, and Johannes Maartens. Discipline is well ham- 
mered into a sea-cuny, and, despite my new greatness, I 
could never forget that he had been my captain in the 
days we sought new Indies in the Sparwehr. According 
to my tale first told in court, he was the only free man 
in my following. The rest of the cunies, being con- 
sidered my slaves, could not aspire to office of any sort un- 
der the crown. But Johannes could, and did. The sly 
old fox ! I little guessed his intent, when he asked me to 
make him governor of the paltry little prorince of 
Kyong-ju. Kyong-ju had no wealth of farms or fisher- 
ies. The taxes scarce paid the collecting, and the gov- 
ernorship was little more than an empty honor. The 
place was in truth a graveyard — a sacred graveyard, for 
on Tabong Mountain were shrined and sepultured the 
bones of the ancient kings of Silla. Better governor of 
Kyong-ju than retainer of Adam Strang, was what I 
thought was in his mind; nor did I dream that it was 
except for fear of loneliness that caused him to take four 
of the cunies with him. 
I Gorgeous were the two years that followe<i. Mj^ seven 



THE STAR EOVER 195 

provinces I governed mainly through needy yanghans 
selected for me by Yunsan. An occasional inspection, 
done in state and accompanied by the Lady Om, was all 
that was required of me. She possessed a summer palace 
on the south coast, which we frequented much. Then 
there were man's diversions. I became patron of the sport 
of wrestling, and revived archery among the yangbans. 
Also, there was tiger-hunting in the northern mountains. 

A remarkable thing was the tides of Cho-Sen. On our 
northeast coast there was scarce a rise and fall of a foot. 
On our west coast, the neap tides ran as high as sixty 
feet. Cho-Sen had no commerce, no foreign traders. 
There was no voyaging beyond her coasts, and no voyag- 
ing of other peoples to her coasts. This was due to her 
immemorial policy of isolation. Once in a decade or a 
score of years, Chinese ambassadors arrived, but they 
came overland, around the Yellow Sea, across the country 
of the Hong-du, and down the Mandarin Eoad to Keijo. 
The round trip was a year-long journey. Their mission 
was to exact from our Emperor the empty ceremonial of 
acknowledgment of China's ancient suzerainty. 

But Hamel, from long brooding, was ripening for action. 
His plans grew apace. Cho-Sen was Indies enough for 
him could he but work it right. Little he confided, but 
when he began to play to have me made admiral of the 
Cho-Sen navy of junks, and to inquire more than casually 
of the details of the store-places of the imperial treasury, 
I could put two and two together. 

Now I did not care to depart from Cho-Sen except with! 
the Lady Om. When I broached the possibility of it, she 
told me, warm in my arms, that I was her king and that 
wherever I led she would follow. As you shall see, it 
was truth, full truth, that she uttered. 

It was Yunsan's fault for letting Chong Mong-ju live. 
And yet it was not Yunsan'a fault. He had not dared 



196 THE STAK EOVEB 

otherwise. Disgraced at Court, nevertheless Chong 
Mong-ju had been too popular with the provincial priest- 
hood. Yunsan had been compelled to hold his hand, and 
Chong Mong-ju, apparently sulking on the northeast coast, 
had been anything but idle. His emissaries, chiefly 
Buddhist priests, were everywhere, went everywhere, 
gathering in even the least of the provincial magistrates 
to allegiance to him. 'It takes the cold patience of the 
Asiatic to conceive and execute huge and complicated 
conspiracies. The strength of Chong Mong-ju's palace 
clique grew beyond Yunsan's wildest dreaming. Chong 
Mong-ju corrupted the very palace guards, the Tiger 
Hunters of Pyeng-Yang whom Kim commanded. And 
while Yunsan nodded, while I devoted myself to sport and 
to the Lady Om, while Hendrik Hamel perfected plans 
for the looting of the Imperial treasury, and while 
Johannes Maartens schemed his own scheme among the 
tombs of Tabong Mountain, the volcano of Chong 
Mong-ju's devising gave no warning beneath us. 

Lord, Lord, when the storm broke! It was stand out 
from under, all hands, and save your necks. And there 
were necks that were not saved. The springing of the 
conspiracy was premature. Johannes Maartens really 
precipitated the catastrophe, and w^hat he did was too 
favorable for Chong Mong-ju not to advantage by. 

For, see. The people of Cho-Sen are fanatical ancestor- 
w^orshipers, and that old pirate of a booty-lusting Dutch- 
man, with his four cunies, in far Kyong-ju, did no less a 
thing than raid the tombs of the gold-coffined, long-buried 
kings of ancient Silla. The work was done in the night, 
and for the rest of the night they traveled for the sea 
coast. But the following day a dense fog lay over the 
land and they lost their way to the waiting junk which 
Johannes Maartens had privily outfitted. He and the 
cunies were rounded in by Yi Sun-sin, the local magis- 



i 



THE STAE EOVER 197 

trate, one of Chong Mong-ju's adherents. Only Herman 
Tromp escaped in the fog, and was able, long after, to 
tell me of the adventure. 

That night, although news of the sacrilege was spread- 
ing through Cho-Sen and half the northern provinces had 
risen on their officials, Keijo and the Court slept in 
ignorance. By Chong Mong-ju's orders the beacons flared 
their nightly message of peace. And night by night the 
peace-beacons flared, while day and night Chong Mong- 
ju's messengers killed horses on all the roads of Cho-Sen. 
It was my luck to see his messenger arrive at Keijo. At 
twilight, as I rode out through the great gate of the capi- 
tal, I saw the jaded horse fall and the exhausted rider 
stagger in on foot; and I little dreamed that that man 
carried my destiny with him into Keijo. 

His message sprang the palace revolution. I was not 
iiue to return until midnight, and by midnight all was 
over. At nine in the evening the conspirators secured 
possession of the Emperor in his own apartments. They 
compelled him to order the immediate attendance of the 
heads of all departments, and as they presented them- 
selves, one by one, before his eyes, they were cut down. 
Meantime the Tiger Hunters w-ere up and out of hand. 
Tunsan and Hendrik Hamel were badly beaten with the 
flats of swords and made prisoners. The seven other 
cunies escaped from the palace along with the Lady Om. 
They were enabled to do this by Kim, who held the way, 
sword in hand, against his own Tiger Hunters. They cut 
him down and trod over him. Unfortunately, he did not 
die of his wounds. 

Like a flaw of wind on a summer night, the revolution, 
a palace revolution of course, blew and was past. Chong 
Mong-ju was in the saddle. The Emperor ratified what- 
ever Chong Mong-ju willed. Beyond gasping at the 
sacrilege of the kings' tombs and applauding Chong 



198 THE STAE EOVEK 

Mong-ju, Cho-Sen was unperturbed. Heads of oflBcials 
fell everywhere, being replaced by Chong Mong-ju's ap- 
pointees; but there were no risings against the dynasty. 

And now to what befell us. Johannes Maartens and 
his three cunies, after being exhibited to be spat upon by 
the rabble of half the villages and walled cities of Cho- 
Sen, were buried to their necks in the ground of the open 
space before the palace gate. Water was given them that 
they might live longer to yearn for the food, steaming 
hot and savory and changed hourly, that was placed tempt- 
ingly before them. They say old Johannes Maartens 
lived longest, not giving up the ghost for a full fifteen 
days, 

Kim was slowly crushed to death, bone by bone and 
joint by joint, by the torturers, and was a long time in 
dying. Hamel, whom Chong Mong-ju divined as my 
brains, was executed by the paddle — in short, was 
promptly and expeditiously beaten to death to the de- 
lighted shouts of the Keijo populace. Yunsan was given a 
brave death. He was playing a game of chess with the 
jailer, when the Emperor's, or rather, Chong Mong-ju's, 
messenger arrived with the poison-cup. " Wait a mo- 
ment," said Yunsan. " You should be better-mannered 
than to disturb a man in the midst of a game of chess. 
I shall drink directly the game is over." And while the 
messenger waited, Yunsan finished the game, winning it, 
then drained the cup. 

" Tt takes an Asiatic to temper his spleen to steady, per- 
sistent, life-long revenge. This Chong Mong-ju did witH 
the Lady Om and me. He did not destroy us. We were 
not even imprisoned. The Lady Om was degraded of all 
rank and divested of all possessions. An imperial decree 
was promulgated and posted in the last least village of 
Cho-Sen to the effect that I was of the house of Koryu 
and that no man might kill me. It was further declared 



THE STAE EOVER 199 

that the eight sea-cunies who survived must not be killed. 
Neither were they to be favored. They were to be out- 
casts, beggars on the highways. And that is what the 
Lady Om and I became, beggars on the highways. 

Forty long years of persecution followed, for Chong 
Mong-ju's hatred of the Lady Om and me was deathless. 
iWorse luck, he was favored with long life as well as were 
:w€! cursed with it. I have said the Lady Om was a won- 
der of woman. Beyond endlessly repeating that state- 
ment, words fail me with which to give her just apprecia- 
tion. Somewhere I have heard that a great lady once 
said to her lover : " A tent and a crust of bread with 
you." In effect that is what the Lady Om said to me. 
More than to say it, she lived the last letter of it, when 
more often than not crusts were not plentiful and the 
sky itself was our tent. 

Every effort I made to escape beggary was in the end 
frustrated by Chong Mong-ju. In Song-do I became a 
fuel-carrier, and the Lady Om and I shared a hut that 
.was vastly more comfortable than the open road in bitter 
winter weather. But Chong Mong-ju found me out, and 
I was beaten and planked and put out upon the road. 
That was a terrible winter, the winter poor " What- 
!N^ow " Vandervoot froze to death on the streets of Keijo. 

In Pyeng-Yang I became a water-carrier, for know that 
that old city whose walls were ancient even in the time of 
David, was considered by the people to be a canoe, and 
that therefore, to sink a well inside the walls would be to 
scupper the city. So all day long thousands of coolies, 
w^ater-jars yoked to their shoulders, tramp out the river 
gate and back. I became one of these, until Chong 
Mong-ju sought me out, and I was beaten and planked and 
set upon the highway. 

Ever it was the same. In far Wiju I became a dog- 
butcher, killing the brutes before my open stall, cut- 



200 THE STAK ROVER 

ting and hanging the carcasses for sale, tanning the hides 
under the filth of the feet of the passersby by spread- 
ing the hides, raw-side up, in the muck of the street. But 
Chong Mong-ju found me out. I was a dyer's helper in 
Pyonhan, a gold-miner in the placers of Kang-wun, a rope- 
maker and twine-twister in Chiksan. I plaited straw hats 
in Padok, gathered grass in Whang-hai, and in Masanpo 
sold myself to a rice farmer to toil bent double in the 
flooded paddies for less than a coolie's pay. But there 
was never a time or place that the long arm of Chong 
Mong-ju did not reach out and punish and thrust me upon 
the beggar's way. 

The Lady Om and I searched two seasons and found a 
single root of the wild mountain ginseng, which is esteemed 
so rare and precious a thing by the doctors that the Lady 
Om and I could have lived a year in comfort from the 
sale of our one root. But in the selling of it I was 
apprehended, the root confiscated, and I was better beaten 
and longer planked than ordinarily. 

Everywhere the wandering members of the great 
Peddlers' Guild carried word of me, of my comings and 
goings and doings, to Chong Mong-ju at Keijo. Only 
twice, in all the days after my downfall, did I meet Chong 
Mong-ju face to face. The first time was a wild winter 
night of storm in the high mountains of Kang-wun. A 
few hoarded coppers had bought for the Lady Om and m© 
sleeping space in the dirtiest and coldest corner of the one 
large room of the inn. We were just about to begin on our 
meager supper of horse-beans and wild garlic cooked into 
a stew with a scrap of bullock that must have died of old 
age, when there was a tinkling of bronze pony bells and 
the stamp of hoofs without. The doors opened, and en- 
tered Chong Mong-ju, the personification of well-being, 
prosperity and power, shaking the snow from his price- 
less Mongolian furs. Place was made for him and his 



THE STAR ROVER 201 

dozen retainers, and there was room for all without crowd- 
ing, when his eyes chanced to light on the Ladj Om and 
me. 

" The vermin there in the comer — clear it out," he 
commanded. 

And his horse-hojs lashed us with their whips and 
drove us out into the storm. But there was to be another 
meeting, after long years, as you shall see. 

There was no escape. Never was I permitted to cross 
the northern frontier. Never was I permitted to put 
foot to a sampan on the sea. The Peddlers' Guild car- 
ried these commands of Chong Mong-ju to every village 
and every soul in all Cho-Sen. I was a marked man. 

Lord, Lord, Cho-Sen, I know your every highway and 
mountain path, all your walled cities and the least of your 
villages. For two-score years I wandered and starved over 
you, and the Lady Om ever wandered and starved with 
me. What we in extremity have eaten ! — Leavings of 
dog flesh, putrid and unsalable, flung to us by the mock- 
ing butchers; minari, a water cress, gathered from stag- 
nant pools of slime; spoiled himchi that would revolt the 
stomachs of peasants and that could be smelled a mile. 
Ay — I have stolen bones from curs, gleaned the public 
roads for stray grains of rice, robbed ponies of their steam- 
ing bean-soup on frosty nights. 

It is not strange that I did not die. I knew and was 
upheld by two things : the first, the Lady Om by my side ; 
the second, the certain faith that the time would come 
when my thumbs and fingers would fast-lock in the gullet 
of Chong Mong-ju. 

Turned always away at the city gates of Keijo, where I 
Bought Chong ]\[ong-ju, we wandered on, through seasons 
and decades of seasons, across Cho-Sen, whose every inch 
of road was an old story to our sandals. Our history and 
identity were wide-scattered as the land was wide. No 



202 THE STAR ROVER 

person breathed who did not know us and our punishmenli. 
There were coolies and peddlers w^ho shouted insults at 
the Lady Om and who felt the wrath of my clutch in their 
topknots, the wrath of my knuckles in their faces. There 
were old women in far mountain villages who looked on 
the beggar woman by my side, the lost Lady Om, and 
sighed and shook their heads while their eyes dimmed 
with tears. And there were young women whose faces 
warmed with compassion as they gazed on the bulk of my 
shoulders, the blue of my eyes, and my long yellow hair — 
I who had once been a prince of Koryu and the ruler of 
provinces. And there were rabbles of children that tagged 
at our heels, jeering and screeching, pelting us with filtK 
of speech and of the common road. 

Beyond the Yalu, forty miles wide, was the strip of 
waste that constituted the northern frontier and that ran 
from sea to sea. It was not really waste land, but land 
that had been deliberately made waste in carrying out 
Cho-Sen's policy of isolation. On this forty-mile strip all 
farms, villages and cities had been destroyed. It was no 
man's land, infested with wild animals and traversed by 
companies of mounted Tiger Hunters whose business was 
to kill any human being they found. That way there was 
no escape for us, nor was there any escape for us by sea. 

As the years passed, my seven fellow cunies came more 
to frequent Fusan. It was on the southeast coast where 
the climate was milder. But more than climate, it lay 
nearest of all Cho-Sen to Japan. Across the narrow 
straits, just farther than the eye can see, was the one hope 
of escape, Japan, where doubtless occasional ships of Eu- 
rope came. Strong upon me is the vision of those seven 
aging men on the cliffs of Eusan yearning with all their 
souls across the sea they would never sail again. 

At times junks of Japan were sighted, but never lifted 
a familiar topsail of old Europe above the sea-rim. 



THE STAK ROVER 203 

Years came and went, and the seven cunies and myself 
and the Lady Om, passing through middle life into old 
age, more and more directed our footsteps to Fusan. And 
as the years came and went, now one, now another, failed 
to gather at the usual place. Hans Amden was the first 
to die. Jacob Brinker, who was his road-mate, brought 
the news. Jacob Brinker was the last of the seven, and he 
was nearly ninety when he died, outliving Tromp a scant 
two years. I well remember the pair of them, toward the 
last, worn and feeble, in beggars' rags, with beggars' 
bowls, sunning themselves side by side on the cliffs, tell- 
ing old stories and cackling shrill-voiced like children^ 
And Tromp would maunder over and over of how: 
Johannes Maartens and the cunies robbed the kings on 
Tabong Mountain, each embalmed in his golden coffin 
with an embalmed maid on either side ; and of how these 
ancient proud ones crumbled to dust within the hour 
while the cunies cursed and sweated at the junking of the 
coffins. 

As sure as loot is loot, old Johannes Maartens would 
have got away and across the Yellow Sea with his booty 
had it not been for the fog next day that lost him. That 
cursed fog! A song was made of it, that I heard and 
hated through all Cho-Sen to my dying day. Here run 
two lines of it: 

Yanggukeni chajin anga 

Wheanpong tora deunda, 
The thick fog of the Westerners 

Broods over Whean peak. 

For forty years I was a beggar of Cho-Sen. Of the 
fourteen of us that were cast away, only I survived. The 
Lady Om was of the same indomitable stuff, and we aged 
together. She was a little, weezened, toothless old woman 
toward the last ; but ever she was the wonder woman, and 
she carried my heart in hers to the end. For an old man^ 



204 THE STAE ROVEK 

three score and ten, I still retained great strength. My 
face was withered, my yellow hair turned white, my broad 
shoulders shrunken, and yet much of the strength of my 
sea-cuny days resided in the muscles left me. 

Thus it was that I was able to do what I shall now re- 
late. It was a spring morning on the cliffs of Fusan, hard 
by the highway, that the Lady Om and I sat warming in 
the sun. We were in the rags of beggary, prideless in 
the dust, and yet I was laughing heartily at some mumbled 
merry quip of the Lady Om when a shadow fell upon us. 
It was the great litter of Chong Mong-ju, borne by eight 
coolies, with outriders before and behind and fluttering at- 
tendants on either side. 

Two emperors, civil war, famine, and a dozen palace 
revolutions had come and gone; and Chong Mong-ju re- 
mained, even then the great power at Keijo. He must 
have been nearly eighty that spring morning on the cliffs 
when he signaled with palsied hand for his litter to be 
rested do^vn that he might gaze upon us whom he had 
punished for so long. 

" I^^ow, O my king," the Lady Om mumbled low to me, 
then turned to whine an alms of Chong Mong-ju whom she 
affected not to recognize. 

And I knew what was her thought. Had we not shared 
it for forty years ? And the moment of its consummation 
had come at last. So I, too, affected not to recognize my 
enemy, and, putting on an idiotic senility, I, too, crawled 
in the dust toward the litter whining for mercy and char- 
ity. 

The attendants would have driven me back, but with age- 
quavering cackles Chong Mong-ju restrained them. He 
lifted himself on a shaking elbow, and with the other 
shaking hand drew wider apart the silken curtains. His 
withered old face was transfigured vdth delight as he 
gloated on us. 



J 



THE STAR EOVER 205 

" my king," the Lady Om whined to me in her beg- 
gar's chant; and I knew all her long-tried love and faith 
in my emprise were in that chant. 

And the Eed Wrath was up in me, ripping and tearing 
at my will to be free. Small wonder that I shook with the 
effort to control. The shaking, happily, they took for the 
weakness of age. I held up my brass begging bowl, and 
whined more dolefully, and bleared my eyes to hide the 
blue fire I knew was in them, and calculated the distance 
and my strength for the leap. 

Then I was swept away in a blaze of red. There was a 
crashing of curtains and curtain-poles and a squawking 
and squalling of attendants as my hands closed on Chong 
Mong-ju's throat. The litter overturned, and I scarce 
knew whether I was heads or heels, but my clutch never 
relaxed. 

In the confusion of cushions and quilts and curtains, at 
first few of the attendants' blows found me. But soon the 
horsemen were in, and their heavy whip-butts began to 
fall on my head, while a multitude of hands clawed and 
tore at me. I was dizzy, but not unconscious, and very 
blissful with my old fingers buried in that lean and 
scraggly old neck I had sought for so long. The blows 
continued to rain on my head, and I had whirling thoughts 
in which I likened myself to a bulldog with jaws fast- 
locked. Chong Mong-ju could not escape me, and I know 
he was well dead ere darkness descended upon me there on 
the cliffs of Fusan by the Yellow Sea. 



CHAPTER XVI 

Warden Atheeton, when he thinks of me, must feel 
anything but pride. I have taught him what spirit is, 
humbled him with my own spirit that rose unvulnerable, 
triumphant, above all his tortures. I sit here in Folsom, 
in Murderers' Eow, awaiting my execution; Warden 
Atherton still holds his political job and is king over San 
Quentin and all the damned within its walls; and yet, in 
his heart of hearts, he knows that I am a greater than 
he. 

In vain Warden Atherton tried to break my spirit. 
And there were times, beyond any shadow of doubt, when 
he would have been glad had I died in the jacket. So the 
long inquisition went on. As he had told me, and as he 
told me repeatedly, it was dynamite or curtains. 

Captain Jamie was a veteran in dungeon horrors, yet 
the time came when he broke down under the strain I 
put on him and on the rest of my torturers. So desper- 
ate did he become that he dared words with the warden 
and washed his hands of the affair. From that day until 
the end of my torturing he never set foot in solitary. 

Yes, and the time came when Warden Atherton grew 
afraid, although he still persisted in trying to wring from 
me the hiding place of the non-existent dynamite. To- 
ward the last he was badly shaken by Jake Oppenheimer. 
Oppenheimer was fearless and outpsoken. He had passed 
unbroken through all their prison hells, and out of superior 
will could beard them to their teeth. Morrell rapped me 
a full account of the incident. I was unconscious in the 
jacket at the time. 

206 



THE STAK ROVEE 207 

"Warden," Oppenheimer had said, "youVe bitten off 
more than you can chew. It ain't a case of killing Stand- 
ing. It's a case of killing three men, for as sure as you 
kill him, sooner or later Morrell and I will get the word 
out and what you have done will be known from one end 
of California to the other. You've got your choice. 
You've either got to let up on Standing or kill all three 
of us. Standing's got your goat. So have I. So has 
Morrell. You are a stinking coward, and you haven't 
got the backbone and guts to carry out the dirty butcher's 
work you'd like to do." 

Oppenheimer got a hundred hours in the jacket for it, 
and, when he was unlaced, spat in the warden's face and 
received a second hundred hours on end. When he was 
unlaced this time, the warden was careful not to be in soli- 
tary. That he was shaken by Oppenheimer's words there 
is no doubt. 

But it was Dr. Jackson who was the arch fiend. To 
him I was a novelty, and he was ever eager to see how 
much more I could stand before I broke. 

" He can stand twenty days off the bat," he bragged to 
the warden in my presence. 

" You are conservative," I broke in. " I can stand 
forty days. Pshaw! I can stand a hundred when such 
as you administer it." And, remembering my sea-cuny's 
patience of forty years' waiting ere I got my hands on 
Chong Mong-ju's gullet, I added : " You prison curs, you 
don't know what a man is. You think a man is made in 
your own cowardly images. Behold, I am a man. You 
are feeblings. I am your master. You can't bring a 
squeal out of me. You think it remarkable, for you know 
how easily you would squeal." 

Oh, I abused them, called them sons of toads, hell's 
scullions, slime of the pit. For I was above them, be- 
yond them. They were slaves. I was free spirit. My^ 



208 THE ~ STAE ROVEE 

flesh only lay pent there in solitary. I was not pent. I 
lliad mastered the flesh, and the spaciousness of time was 
\mine to wander in, while my poor flesh, not even suffering, 
l.aj in the little death in the jacket. 

Much of my adventures I rapped to my two comrades. 
Morrell believed, for he had himself tasted the little death. 
But Oppenheimer, enraptured with my tales, remained a 
skeptic to the end. His regret was naive, and at times 
really pathetic, in that I had devoted my life to the 
science of agriculture instead of to fiction-writing. 

" But, man," I reasoned with him, " what do I know, 
of myself, about this Cho-Sen ? I am able to identify it 
with what is to-day called Korea, and that is about all. 
That is as far as my reading goes. For instance, how 
possibly, out of my present life's experience, could I know 
anything about kimchi? Yet I know kimchi. It is a 
sort of sauerkraut. When it is spoiled it stinks to heaven. 
I tell you, when I was Adam Strang, I ate kimchi thou- 
sands of times. I know good kimchi, bad kimchi, rotten 
kimchi. I know the best kimchi is made by the women of 
Wosan. Now how do I know that ? It is not in the con- 
tent of my mind, Darrell Standing's mind. It is in the 
content of Adam Strang's mind, who, through various 
births and deaths, bequeathed his experiences to me, Dar- 
rell Standing, along with the rest of the experiences of 
those various other lives that intervened. Don't you see, 
Jake ? That is how men come to be, to grow, how spirit 
developes." 

" Aw, come off," he rapped back with the quick im- 
perative knuckles I knew so well. " Listen to your uncle 
talk now. I am Jake Oppenheimer. I always have been 
Jake Oppenheimer. ISTo other guy is in my makings. 
What I know I know as Jake Oppenheimer. Now what 
do I know? I'll tell you one thing. I know kimchi. 
Kimchi is a sort of sauerkraut made in a country that 



THE STAE EOVEE 209 

used to be called Cho-Sen. The women of Wosan make 
the best kimchi, and when Tcimchi is spoiled it stinks to 
heaven. — You keep out of this, Ed. Wait till I tie the 
professor up. 

" ]^ow, Professor, how do I know all this stuff about 
Tcimchi? It is not in the content of my mind." 

" But it is," I exulted. " I put it there." 

" All right, old hoss. Then who put it into your 
mind ? " 

" Adam Strang." 

" iSTot on your tintype. Adam Strang is a pipe dream. 
You read it somewhere." 

" Xever," I averred. " The little I read of Korea was 
the headlines of the war correspondence at the time of the 
Japanese-Russian War." 

'' Do you remember all you read ? " Oppenheimer 
queried. 

" Xo." 

" Some you forget ? " 

"Yes, but— " 

" That's all, thank you," he interrupted, in the manner 
of a la^vyer abruptly concluding a cross-examination after 
having extracted a fatal admission from a witness. 

It was impossible to convince Oppenheimer of my sin- 
cerity. He insisted that I was making it up as I went 
along, although he applauded what he called my "to-be- 
continued-in-our-next," and, at the times they were resting 
me up from the jacket, was continually begging and urg- 
ing me to run off a few more chapters. 

" jSTow, Professor, cut out that high-brow stuff," he 
would interrupt Ed Morrell's and my metaphysical dis- 
cussions, " and tell us more about the Tcisang and the cun- 
ies. And, say, while you're alx)ut it, tell us what hap- 
pened to the Lady Om when that roughneck husband of 
hers choked the old geezer and croaked." 



210 THE STAR ROVER 

How often have I said that form perishes. Let me re- 
peat. Form perishes. Matter has no memory. Spirit 
only remembers, as here, in prison cells, after the centu- 
ries, knowledge of the Lady Om and Chong Mong-ju per- 
sisted in my mind, was conveyed by me into Jake Oppen- 
heimer's mind, and by him was reconveyed into my mind 
in the argot and jargon of the West. And now I have 
conveyed it into your mind, my reader. Try to eliminate 
it from your mind. You cannot. As long as you live 
■what I have told will tenant your mind. Mind ? There 
is nothing permanent but mind. Matter fluxes, crystal- 
lizes, and fluxes again, and forms are never repeated. 
Forms disintegrate into the eternal nothingness from 
which there is no return. Form is apparitional and passes, 
as passed the physical forms of the Lady Om and Chong 
Mong-ju. But the memory of them remains, shall al- 
ways remain as long as spirit endures, and spirit is in- 
destructible. 

" One thing sticks out as big as a house," was Oppen- 
heimer's final criticism of my Adam Strang adventure. 
" And that is that you've done more hanging around 
Chinatown dumps and hop-joints than was good for a re- 
spectable college professor. Evil communications, you 
know. I guess that's what brought you here." 

Before I return to my adventures, I am compelled to 
tell one remarkable incident that occurred in solitary. It 
is remarkable in two ways. It shows the astounding men- 
tal power of that child of the gutters, Jake Oppenheimer ; 
and it is in itself convincing proof of the verity of my ex- 
periences w'hen in the jacket coma. 

" Say, Professor," Oppenheimer tapped to me one day. 
"When you was spieling that Adam Strang yarn, I re- 
member you mentioned playing chess with that royal souse 
of an emperor's brother. Now is that chess like our kind 
of chess ? " 



THE STAR ROVER 211 

Of course, I had to reply that I did not know, that I 
did not remember the details after I returned to my 
normal state. And of course he laughed good-naturedly 
at what he called my foolery. Yet I could distinctly re- 
member that in my Adam Strang adventure I had fre- 
quently played chess. The trouble was that whenever I 
came back to consciousness in solitary, unessential and in- 
tricate details faded from my memory. 

It must be remembered that for convenience I have 
assembled my intermittent and repetitional jacket experi- 
ences into coherent and consecutive narratives. I never 
knew in advance where my journeys in time would take 
me. For instance, I have a score of different times re- 
turned to Jesse Eancher in the wagon-circle at Mountain 
Meadows. In a single, ten-days' bout in the jacket I have 
gone back and back, from life to life and often skipping 
whole series of lives that at other times I have covered, 
back to prehistoric time, and back of that to days ere 
civilization began. 

So I resolved, on my next return from Adam Strang's 
experiences, whenever it might be, that I should, im- 
mediately, on resuming consciousness, concentrate upon 
what visions and memories I had brought back of chess 
playing. As luck would have it, I had to endure Op- 
penheimer's chaffing for a full month ere it happened. 
And then, no sooner out of jacket and circulation restored, 
than I started knuckle-rapping the information. 

Further, I taught Oppenheimer the chess Adam Strang 
had played in Cho-Sen centuries agone. It was different 
from Western chess, and yet could not but be funda- 
mentally the same, tracing back to a common origin, prob- 
ably India. In place of our sixty-four squares, there 
are eighty-one squares. We have eight pawns on a side; 
they have nine ; and though limited similarly, the principle 
of moving is different. 



212 THE STAE KOVEE 

Also, in the Cho-Sen game, there are twenty pieces and 
pawns against our sixteen, and they are arrayed in three 
rows instead of two. Thus, the nine pawns are in the 
front row; in the middle row are two pieces resembling 
our castles ; and in the back row, midway, stands the king, 
flanked in order on either side by " gold money," " silver 
money," " flying horse," and " spear." It will be ob- 
served that in the Cho-Sen game there is no queen. A 
further radical variation is that a captured piece or pawn 
is not removed from the board. It becomes the property 
of the captor and is thereafter played by him. 

Well, I taught Oppenheimer this game — a far more 
difficult achievement than our own game, as will be ad- 
mitted, when the capturing and recapturing and continued 
playing of pawns and pieces is considered. Solitary is 
not heated. It would be a wickedness to ease a convict 
from any spite of the elements. And many a dreary day 
of biting cold did Oppenheimer and I forget, that and the 
following winter, in the absorption of Cho-Sen chess. 

But there was no convincing him that I had in truth 
brought this game back to San Quentin across the centuries. 
He insisted that I had read about it somewhere, and, 
though I had forgotten the reading, the stuff of the read- 
ing was nevertheless in the content of my mind, ripe to 
be brought out in any pipe-dream. Thus he turned the 
tenets and jargon of psychology back on me. 

" What's to prevent your inventing it right here in 
solitary ? " was his next hypothesis. " Didn't Ed invent 
the knuckle-talk ? And ain't you and me improving on it 
right along ? I got you, bo. You invented it. Say, get 
it patented. I remember when I was night messenger 
some guy invented a fool thing called Pigs in Clover and 
made millions out of it." 

" There's no patenting this," I replied. " Doubtlessly 
the Asiatics have been playing it for thousands of years. 



THE STAE ROVER 213 

Won't you believe me when I tell you I didn't invent it ? " | 

" Then you must have read about it, or seen the Chinks jU-t| 
playing it in some of those hop-joints you was always hang-jj 
ing around," was his last word. 

But I have a last word. There is a Japanese murderer 
here in Folsom — or was, for he was executed last week. 
I talked the matter over with him; and the game Adam 
Strang played, and which I taught Oppenheimer, proved 
quite similar to the Japanese game. They are far more 
alike than is either of them like the Western game. 



CHAPTER XVII 

You, my reader, will remember, far back at the begin- ' 
ning of this narrative, how, when a little lad on the Min- 
nesota farm, I looked at the photographs of the Holy 
Land and recognized places and pointed out changes in 
places. Also, you will remember, as I described the scene 
I had witnessed of the healing of the lepers, I told the 
missionary that I was a big man with a big sword, astride 
a horse and looking on. 

That childhood incident was merely a trailing cloud of 
glory, as Wordsworth puts it. Not in entire forgetfulness 
had I, little Darrell Standing, come into the world. But 
those memories of other times and places that glimmered 
up to the surface of my child consciousness soon failed and 
faded. In truth, as is the way with all children, the 
shades of the prison house closed about me, and I remem- 
bered my mighty past no more. Every man bom of 
woman has a past mighty as mine. Very few men born 
of women have been fortunate enough to suffer years of 
solitary and straight] acketing. That was my good for- ' 
tune. I was enabled to remember once again, and to 
remember, among other things, the time when I sat astride 
a horse and beheld the lepers healed. 

My name was Eagnar Lodbrog. I was in truth a large 
man. I stood half a head above the Romans of my le- 
gion. But that was later, after the time of my journey 
from Alexandria to Jerusalem, that I came to command a 
legion. It was a crowded life, that. Books and books 
and years of writing could not record it all. So I shall 

briefen and no more than hint at the beginnings of it. 

214 



THE STAR EOVER 215 

[Now all is clear and sharp save the very beginning. I 
never knew my mother. I was told that I was tempest- 
born, on a beaked ship in the Northern Sea, of a captured 
woman, after a sea fight and a sack of a coastal strong- 
hold. I never heard the name of my mother. She died 
at the height of the tempest. She was of the North Danes, 
so old Lingaard told me. He told me much that I was too 
young to remember, yet little could he tell. A sea fight 
and a sack, battle and plunder and torch, a flight seaward 
in the long ships to escape destruction upon the rocks, 
and a killing strain and struggle against the frosty, foun- 
dering seas — who, then, should know aught or mark a 
stranger woman in her hour with her feet fast set on the 
way of death ? Many died. Men marked the living 
women, not the dead. 

Sharp-bitten into my child imagination, are the inci- 
dents immediately after my birth, as told me by old 
Lingaard. Lingaard, too old to labor at the sweeps, had 
been surgeon, undertaker and midwife of the huddled 
captives in the open 'midships. So I was delivered in 
storm, with the spume of the cresting seas salt upon me. 

Not many hours old was I when Tostig Lodbrog first 
laid eyes on me. His was the lean ship, and his the seven 
other lean ships that had made the foray, fled the rapine, 
and won through the storm. Tostig Lodbrog was also 
called Muspell, meaning " The Burning " ; for he was ever 
aflame with wrath. Brave he was, and cruel he was, with 
no heart of mercy in that great chest of his. Ere the sweat 
of battle had dried on him, leaning on his axe, he ate the 
heart of Ngnm after the fight at Hasfarth. Because of 
mad anger he sold his son, Garulf, into slavery to the Juts. 
I remember, under the smoky rafters of Brunanbuhr, 
how he used to call for the skull of Guthlaf for a drinking 
beaker. Spiced wine he would have from no other cup 
than the skull of Guthlaf. 



216 THE STAR ROVEE 

And to him, on the reeling deck after the storm was 
past, old Lingaard brought me. I was only hours old, 
wrapped naked in a salt-crusted wolfskin. Now it hap- 
pens, being prematurely born, that I was very small. 

" Ho ! ho ! — a dwarf ! " cried Tostig, lowering a pot 
of mead half-drained from his lips to stare at me. 

The day was bitter, but they say he swept me naked 
from the wolfskin, and by my foot, between thumb and 
forefinger, dangled me to the bite of the wind. 

" A roach ! " he ho-ho'd. " A shrimp ! A sea-louse ! " 
And he made to squash me between huge forefinger and 
thumb, either of which, Lingaard avers, was thicker than 
my leg or thigh. But another whim was upon him. 

" The youngling is a-thirst. Let him drink." 

And therewith, head-downward, into the half-pot of 
mead he thrust me. And I might well have drowned in 
this drink of men — I who had never known a mother's 
breast in the briefness of time I had lived — had it not 
been for Lingaard. But when he had plucked me forth 
from the brew, Tostig Lodbrog struck him down in a rage. 
We rolled on the deck, and the great bear hounds, cap- 
tured in the fight with the North Danes just past, sprang 
upon us. 

"Ho! ho!" roared Tostig Lodbrog, as the old man 
and I and the wolfskin were mauled and worried by the 
dogs. 

But Lingaard gained his feet, saving me but losing the 
wolfskin to the hounds. 

Tostig Lodbrog finished the mead and regarded me, 
while Lingaard knew better than to beg for mercy where 
was no mercy. 

"Hop o' my thumb," quoth Tostig. "By Odin, the 
women of the North Danes are a scurvy breed. They 
birth dwarfs, not men. Of what use is this thing? He 
will never make a man. Listen you, Lingaard, grow him 



THE STAK ROVER 217 

to be a drink-boy at Brunanbuhr. And have an eye on 
the dogs lest they slobber him down by mistake as a meat- 
crumb from the table." 

I knew no woman. Old Lingaard was midwife and 
nurse, and for nursery were reeling decks and the stamp 
and trample of men in battle or storm. How I survived 
puling infancy, God knows. I must have been born iron 
in a day of iron, for survive I did, to give the lie to Tos- 
tig's promise of dwarfhood. I outgrew all beakers and 
tankards, and not for long could he half-drown me in his 
mead pot. This last was a favorite feat of his. It was 
his raw humor, a sally esteemed by him delicious wit. 

My first memories are of Tostig Lodbrog's beaked ships 
and fighting men, and of the feast hall at Brunanbuhr 
when our boats lay beached beside the frozen fjord. For 
I was made drink-boy, and amongst my earliest recollec- 
tions are toddling with the wine-filled skull of Guthlaf to 
the head of the table where Tostig bellowed to the rafters. 
They were madmen, all of madness, but it seemed the 
common way of life to me who knew naught else. They 
were men of quick rages and quick battling. Their 
thoughts were ferocious ; so was their eating ferocious, and 
their drinking. And I grew like them. How else could 
I grow, when I served the drink to the bellowings of 
drunkards and to the skalds singing of Hialli, and the 
bold Hogni, and of the Niflung's gold, and of Gudrun's 
revenge on Atli when she gave him the hearts of his chil- 
dren and hers to eat while battle swept the benches, tore 
down the hangings raped from southern coasts, and lit- 
tered the feasting board with swift corpses. 

Oh, I, too, had a rage, well tutored in such school. I 
was but eight when I showed my teeth at a drinking be- 
tween the men of Brunanbuhr and the Juts who came as 
friends with the jarl Agard in his three long ships. I 
stood at Tostig Lodbrog's shoulder, holding the skull of 



218 THE STAE ROVER 

Guthlaf that steamed and stank witli tlie hot spiced wine. 
And I waited while Tostig should complete his ravings 
against the North Dane men. But still he raved and still 
I waited, till he caught breath of fury to assoil the North 
Dane women. Whereat I remembered my North Dane 
mother, and saw my rage red in my eyes, and smote him 
with the skull of Guthlaf, so that he was wine-drenched, 
and wine-blinded and fire-burnt. And as he reeled un- 
seeing, smashing his great groping clutches through the 
air at me, I was in and short-dirked him thrice in belly, 
thigh and buttock, than which I could reach no higher up^ 
the mighty frame of him. 

And the jarl Agard's steel was out, and his Juts join- 
ing him as he shouted : 

" A bear cub ! A bear cub ! By Odin, let the cub 
fight ! " 

And there, under that roaring roof of Brunanbuhr, the 
babling drink-boy of the North Danes fought with mighty 
Lodbrog. And when, with one stroke, I was flung, dazed 
and breathless, half the length of that great board, my 
flying body mowing down pots and tankards, Lodbrog 
cried out command : 

" Out with him ! Eling him to the hounds ! " 

But the jarl would have it no, and clapped Lodbrog on 
the shoulder, and asked me as a gift of friendship. 

And south I went, when the ice passed out of the fjord, 
in jarl Agard's ships. I was made drink-boy and sword- 
bearer to him, and in lieu of other name was called Eag- 
nar Lodbrog. Agard's country was neighbor to the Fris- 
ians, and a sad, flat country of fog and fen it was. I was 
with him for three years, to his death, always at his back, 
whether hunting swamp wolves or drinking in the great 
hall where Elgiva, his young wife, often sat among her 
women. I was with Agard in south foray with his ships 



THE STAE HOVEK 219. 

along what would be now the coast of France, and there 
I learned that still south were warmer seasons and softer 
climes and women. 

But we brought back Agard wounded to death and slow- 
dying. And we burned his body on a great pyre, witK 
Elgiva, in her golden corselet, beside him singing. And 
there were household slaves in golden collars that burned 
of a plenty there with her, and nine female thralls, and 
eight male slaves of the Angles that were of gentle birth! 
and battle-captured. And there were live hawks so 
burned, and the two hawk-boys with their birds. 

But I, the drink-boy, Eagnar Lodbrog, did not burn. 
I was eleven, and unafraid, and had never worn woven 
cloth on my body. And as the flames sprang up, and El- 
giva sang her death-song, and the thralls and slaves 
screamed their unwillingness to die, I tore away my fasten- 
ings, leaped, and gained the fens, the gold collar of my; 
slavehood still on my neck, footing it with the hounds 
loosed to tear me down. 

In the fens were wild men, masterless men, fled slaves 
and outlaws, who were hunted in sport as the wolves were 
hunted. 

For three years I knew never roof nor fire, and I grew 
hard as the frost, and would have stolen a woman from 
the Juts but that the Frisians by mischance, in a two-days' 
hunt, ran me down. By them I was looted of my gold 
collar and traded for two wolf hounds to Edwy, of the 
Saxons, who put an iron collar on me aud later made of 
me and five other slaves a present to Athel of the East 
Angles. I was thrall and fighting man, until, lost in an 
imlucky raid far to the east beyond our marches, I was 
sold among the Harrobrogians and was a swineherd until 
I escaped south into the great forests and was taken in as 
a freeman by the Teutons, who were many but who lived 



220 THE STAE EOVER 

in small tribes and drifted southward before the Harro- 
brogian advance. 

And up from the south into the great forests came the 
Eomans, fighting men all, who pressed us back upon the 
Harrobrogians. It was a crushage of the peoples for 
lack of room; and we taught the Romans what fighting 
was, although in truth we were no less well taught by 
them. 

But always I remembered the sun of the southland that 
I had glimpsed in the ships of Agard, and it was my fate, 
caught in this south drift of the Teutons, to be captured 
by the Romans and be brought back to the sea which I 
had not seen since I was lost away from the East Angles. 
I was made a sweep-slave in the galleys, and it was as a 
sweep-slave that at last I came to Rome. 

All the story is too long of how I became a freeman, a 
citizen, and a soldier, and of how, when I was thirty, I 
journeyed to Alexandria, and from Alexandria to Jeru- 
salem. Yet what I have told from the time when I was 
baptised in the mead pot of Tostig Lodbrog I have been 
compelled to tell in order that you may understand what 
manner of man rode in through the Jaffa Gate and drew 
all eyes upon him. 

Well might they look. They were small breeds, lighter- 
boned and lighter-thewed, these Romans and Jews, and a 
blond like me they had never gazed upon. All along the 
narrow streets they gave before me but stood to stare wide- 
eyed at this yellow man from the north, or from God 
knew where so far as they knew aught of the matter. 

Practically all Pilate's troops were auxiliaries, save for 
a handful of Romans about the palace and the twenty 
Romans who rode with me. Often enough have I found 
the auxiliaries good soldiers, but never so steadily de- 
pendable as the Romans. In truth they were better fight- 



THE STAE EOVEE 221 

ing men the year round than were we men of the North, 
who fought in great moods and sulked in great moods. 
The Roman was invariably steady and dependable. 

There was a woman from the court of Antipas, who was 
a friend of Pilate's wife and whom I met at Pilate's the 
night of my arrival. I shall call her Miriam, for Miriam/ 
was the name I loved her by. If it were merely difficulty 
to describe the charm of women, I would describe Miriam. 
But how describe emotion in words ? The charm of 
woman is wordless. It is different from perception that 
culminates in reason, for it arises in sensation and cul> 
minates in emotion, which, be it admitted, is nothing else 
than super-sensation. 

In general, any woman has fundamental charm for any 
man. When this charm becomes particular, then we call 
it love. Miriam had this particular charm for me. 
Verily I was co-partner in her charm. Half of it was my 
own man's life in me that leapt and met her wide-armed 
and made in me all that she was desirable plus all my de- 
sire of her. 

Miriam was a grand woman. I use the term advisedly. | 
She was fine-bodied, commanding, over and above the 
average Jewish woman in stature and in line. She was ) 
an aristocrat in social caste; she was an aristocrat by \ 
nature. All her ways were large ways, generous ways. 
She had brain, she had wit, and, above all, she had woman- 
liness. As you shall see, it was her womanliness that be- "^ 
trayed her and me in the end. Brunette, olive-skinned, 1 
oval-faced, her hair was blue-black with its blackness and 
her eyes were twin wells of black. Never were more pro- i 
nounced types of blond and brunette in man and woman 
met than in us. 

And we met on the instant. There was no self-discus- 
sion, no waiting, wavering, to make certain. She was 
mine the moment I looked upon her. And by the same 



222 THE STAE ROVEK 

token she knew that I belonged to her above all men. I 
strode to her. She half -lifted from her couch as if drawn 
upward to me. And then we looked with all our eyes, 
blue eyes and black, until Pilate's wife, a thin, tense, 
overwrought woman, laughed nervously. And while I 
bowed to the wife and gave greeting, I thought I saw Pilate 
give Miriam a significant glance, as if to say, " Is he not all 
I promised ? " For he had had word of my coming from 
Sulpicius Quirinius, the legate of Syria. As well had 
Pilate and I been known to each other before ever he 
journeyed out to be procurator over the Semitic rolcano 
of Jerusalem. 

Much talk we had that night, especially Pilate, who 
spoke in detail of the local situation, and who seemed 
lonely and desirous to share his anxieties with some one 
and even to bid for counsel. Pilate was of the solid type 
of Roman, with sufficient imagination intelligently to en- 
force the iron policy of Pome, and not unduly excitable 
under stress. 

But on this night it was plain that he was worried. The 
Jews had got on his nerves. They were too volcanic, 
spasmodic, eruptive. And further, they were subtle. The 
Romans had a straight, forthright way of going about any- 
• thing. The Jews never approached anything directly save 
' backwards when they were driven by compulsion. Left 
to themselves, they always aj^proached by indirection. 
Pilate's irritation was due, as he explained, to the fact 
that the Jews were ever intrigiiing to make him, and 
through him Rome, the cat's-paw in the matter of their re- 
ligious dissensions. As was well known to me, Rome did 
not interfere with the religious notions of its conquered 
peoples; but the Jews were forever confusing the issues 
and giving a political cast to purely unpolitical events. 

Pilate waxed eloquent over the diverse sects and the 



THE STAE ROVEK 223 

fanatic uprisings and riotings that were continually oc- 
curring. 

" Lodbrog/' he said, " one can never tell what little sum- 
mer cloud of their hatching may turn into a thunderstorm 
roaring and rattling about one's ears. I am here to keep 
order and quiet. Despite me they make the place a hor- 
net's nest. Ear rather would I govern Scythians or sav- 
age Britons than these people who are never at peace about 
God. Right now there is a man up to the north, a fisher- 
man turned preacher and mircle-worker, that as well as 
not may soon have all the country by the ears and my re- 
call on its way from Rome." 

This was the first I had heard of the man called Jesus, 
and I little remarked it at the time. iSTot until afterward 
did I remember him, when the little summer cloud had 
become a full-fledged thunderstorm. 

" I have had report of him," Pilate went on. " He is 
not political. There is no doubt of that. But trust 
Caiaphas, and Hanan behind Caiaphas, to make of this 
fisherman a political thorn with which to prick Rome and 
ruin me." 

'' This Caiaphas, I have heard of him as high priest, 
then who is this Hanan ? " I asked. 

" The real high priest, a cunning fox," Pilate ex- 
plained. " Caiaphas was appointed by Gratus, but 
Caiaphas is the shadow and the mouthpiece of Hanan." 

" They have never forgiven you that little matter of the 
votive shields," Miriam teased. 

Whereupon, as a man will when his sore place is touched, 
Pilate launched upon the episode, which had been an epi- 
sode, no more, at the beginning, but which had nearly de- 
stroyed him. In all innocence, before his palace he had 
affixed two shields with votive inscriptions. Ere the con- 
sequent storm that burst on his head had passed, the Jews 



224 THE STAK EOVEK 

had written their complaints to Tiberius, who approved 
them and reprimanded Pilate. 

I was glad, a little later, when I could have talk with 
Miriam. Pilate's wife had found opportunity to tell me 
about her. She was of old royal stock. Her sister was 
wife of Philip, tetrarch of Gaulonitis and Batansea. l^ow 
this Philip was brother to Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and 
Persea, and both were sons of Herod, called by the Jews 
the " Great." Miriam, as I understood, was at home in 
the courts of both tetrarchs, being herself of the blood. 
Also, when a girl, she had been betrothed to Archelaus at 
the time he was ethnarch of Jerusalem. She had a goodly 
fortune in her own right, so that marriage had not been 
compulsory. To boot, she had a will of her own, and was 
doubtless hard to please in so important a matter as hus- 
bands. 

It must have been in the very air we breathed, for in 
no time Miriam and I were at it on the subject of reli- 
gion. Truly, the Jews of that day battened on religion 
as did we on fighting and feasting. For all my stay in 
that country there was never a moment when my wits were 
not buzzing with the endless discussions of life and death, 
law, and God. Now Pilate believed neither in gods, nor 
devils, nor anything. Death, to him, was the blackness 
of unbroken sleep ; and yet, during his years in Jerusalem 
he was ever vexed with the inescapable fuss and fury of 
things religious. Why, I had a horse-boy on my trip into 
Idumsea, a wretched creature that could never learn to 
saddle and who yet could talk, and most learnedly, without 
breath, from nightfall to sunrise, on the hair-splitting dif- 
ferences in the teachings of all the rabbis from Shemaia 
to Gamaliel. 

But to return to Miriam. 

" You believe you are immortal," she was soon chal- 
lenging me. " Then why do you fear to talk about it ? " 



THE STAR ROVER 225 

"Why burden my mind with thoughts about certain- 
ties ? " I countered. 

" But are you certain ? " she insisted. '^ Tell me about 
it. What is it like — your immortality ? " 

And when I had told her of Niflheim and Muspell, of 
the birth of the giant Ymir from the snowflakes, of the 
cow Andhumbla, and of Fenrir and Loki and the frozen 
Jotuns — as I say, when I had told her of all this, and of 
Thor and Odin and our own Valhalla, she clapped her 
hands and cried out, with sparkling eyes: 

" Oh, you barbarian ! You great child ! You yellow 
giant-thing of the frost ! You believer of old nurse tales 
and stomach satisfactions! But the spirit of you, that 
which cannot die, where will it go when your body is 
dead ? " 

" As I have said, Valhalla," I answered. " And my 
body shall be there, too." 

" Eating ? — drinking ? — fighting ? " 

'^ And loving," I added. " We must have our women in 
heaven, else what is heaven for ? " 

" I do not like your heaven," she said. " It is a mad 
place, a beast place, a place of frost and storm and fury." 

" And your heaven ? " I questioned. 

" Is always unending summer, with the year at the ripe 
for the fruits and flowers and growing things." 

I shook my head and growled: 

" I do not like your heaven. It is a sad place, a soft 
place, a place for weaklings and eunuchs and fat sobbing 
shadows of men." 

My remarks must have glamored her mind, for her eyes 
continued to sparkle, and mine was half a guess that she 
was leading me on. 

" My heaven," she said, " is the abode of the blest." 

" Valhalla is the abode of the blest," I asserted. " For 
look you, who cares for flowers where flowers always are ? 



226 THE STAE ROVEE 

In my country, after the iron winter breaks and the sun 
drives away the long night, the first blossoms twinkling on 
the melting ice-edge are things of joy, and we look, and 
look again. 

" And fire ! " I cried on. " Great glorious fire ! A fine 
heaven yours where a man cannot properly esteem a roar- 
ing fire under a tight roof with wind and snow a-drive 
outside." 

" A simple folk, you," she was back at me. " You build 
a roof and a fire in a snowbank and call it heaven. In my 
heaven we do not have to escape the wind and snow." 

" No," I objected. " We build roof and fire to go 
forth from into the frost and storm and to return to from 
the frost and storm. Man's life is fashioned for battle 
with frost and storm. His very fire and roof he makes by 
his battling. I know. For three years, once, I knew 
never roof nor fire. I was sixteen, and a man, ere ever 
I wore woven cloth on my body. I was birthed in storm, 
after battle, and my swaddling cloth was a wolfskin. 
Look at me and see what manner of man lives in Val- 
halla." 

And look she did, all a-glamor, and cried out: 

" You great, yellow giant-thing of a man ! " Then she 
added pensively, " Almost it saddens me that there may 
not be such men in my heaven." 

" It is a good world," I consoled her. " Good is the 
plan and wide. There is room for many heavens. It 
. would seem that to each is given the heaven that is his 
heart's desire. A good country, truly, there beyond the 
grave. I doubt not I shall leave our feast halls and raid 
your coasts of sun and flowers, and steal you away. My 
mother was so stolen." 

And in the pause I looked at her, and she looked at 
me, and dared to look. And my blood ran fire. By Odin, 
this was a woman ! 



THE STAE ROVER 227 

What might have happened I know not, for Pilate, who 
had ceased from his talk with Ambivius and for some time 
had sat grinning, broke the pause. 

" A rabbi, a Teutoberg rabbi ! " he gibed. " A new 
preacher and a new doctrine come to Jerusalem. Now 
will there be more dissensions, and riotings, and stonings 
of prophets. The gods save us, it is a madhouse. Lod- 
brog, I little thought it of you. Yet here you are, spout- 
ing and fuming as wildly as any madman from the desert 
about what shall happen to you when you are dead. One 
life at a time, Lodbrog. It saves trouble. It saves 
trouble." 

" Go on, Miriam, go on," his wife cried. 

She had sat entranced during the discussion, with hands 
tightly clasped, and the thought flickered up in my mind 
that she had already been corrupted by the religious folly 
of Jerusalem. At any rate, as I was to learn in the days 
that followed, she was unduly bent upon such matters. 
She was a thin woman, as if wasted by fever. Her skin 
was tight-stretched. Almost it seemed I could look 
through her hands did she hold them between me and the 
light. She was a good woman, but highly nervous, and, 
at times, fancy-flighted about shades and signs and omens. 
Nor was she above seeing visions and hearing voices. As 
for me, I had no patience with such weaknesses. Yet was 
she a good woman with no heart of evil. 

I was on mission for Tiberius, and it was my ill luck 
to see little of Miriam. On my return from the court of 
Antipas, she had gone into Batamx-a to Philip's court, 
where was her sister. Once again I was back in Jerusa- 
lem, and, though it was no necessity of my business to see 
Philip, who, though weak, was faithful, to Roman will, I 
journeyed vainly into Batana?a in the hope of meeting up 
with Miriam. 



228 THE STAE EOVER 

Then there was my trip into Idumaea. Also, I traveled 
into Syria in obedience to the command of Sulpicius 
Quirinius, who, as imperial legate, was curious of my 
first-hand report of affairs in Jerusalem. Thus, travel- 
ing wide and much, I had opportunity to observe the 
strangeness of the Jews who were so madly interested in 
God. It was their peculiarity. Not content with leaving 
such matters to their priests, they were themselves forever 
turning priest and preaching wherever they could find a 
listener. And listeners they found a-plenty. 

They gave up their occupations to wander about the 
country like beggars, disputing and bickering with the 
rabbis and Talmudists in the synagogues and Temple 
porches. It was in Galilee, a district of little repute, the 
inhabitants of which were looked upon as witless, that I 
crossed the track of the man Jesus. It seems that he had 
been a carpenter, and after that a fisherman, and that his 
fellow fishermen had ceased dragging their nets and fol- 
lowed him in his wandering life. Some few looked upon 
him as a prophet, but the most contended that he was a 
madman. ..Sly wretched horseboy, himself claiming 
Talmudic knowledge second to none, sneered at Jesus, 
calling him the king of the beggars, calling his doctrine 
Ebionism, which, as he explained to me, was to the 
effect that only the poor should win to heaven while the 
rich and powerful were to bum forever in some lake of 
fire. 

It was my observation that it was the custom of the 
country for every man to call every other man a madman. 
In truth, in my judgment, they were all mad. There was 
a plague of them. They cast out devils by magic charms, 
cured diseases by the laying on of hands, drank deadly 
poisons unharmed, and unharmed played with deadly 
snakes — or so they claimed. They ran away to starve 
in the deserts. They emerged howling new doctrine, 



THE STAR EOVER 229 

gathering crowds about them, forming new sects that split 
on doctrine and foimed more sects. / 

" By Odin," I told Pilate, " a trifle of our northeifn 
frost would cool their wits. This climate is too soft. In 
place of building roofs and hunting meat, they are ever, 
building doctrine." 1 

''And altering the nature of God," Pilate corroborateq.X 
sourly. " A curse on doctrine." I 

" So say I," I agreed. " If ever I get away with unad* 
died wits from this mad land, I'll cleave through what- 
ever man dares mention to me what may happen after I- 
am dead." 

Xever were such trouble makers. Everything under 
the sun was pious or impious to them. They, who were 
so clever in hair-splitting argument, seemed incapable of 
grasping the Eoman idea of the State. Ever>i;hing polit- 
ical was religious; everything religious was political. 
Thus every procurator's hands were full. The Roman 
eagles, the Roman statues, even the votive shields of Pi- 
late, were deliberate insults to their religion. 

The Roman taking of the census was an abomination. 
Yet it had to be done, for it was the basis of taxation. 
But there it was again. Taxation by the State was a 
crime against their Law and God. Oh, that Law! It 
was not the Roman law. It was their law, what they 
called God's Law. There were the Zealots, who murdered 
anybody who broke this Law. And for a procurator to 
punish a Zealot caught red-handed was to raise a riot or 
an insurrection. 

Everything, with these strange people, was done in the 
name of God. There were what we Romans called the , 
thaumaiurgi. They worked miracles to prove doctrine.j " 
Ever has it seemed to me a witless thing to prove the 
multiplication table by turning a staff into a serpent, or > 
even into two serpents. Yet these things the thaumaiurgi \ 



230 THE STAE EOVEK 

did, and always to the excitement of the common people. 

Heavens, what sects and sects! Pharisees, Essenes, 
Sadducees — a legion of them ! No sooner did they start 
with a new quirk when it turned political. Coponius, 
procurator fourth before Pilate, had a pretty time crush- 
ing the Gaulonite sedition which arose in this fashion and 
spread down from Gamala. 

In Jerusalem, that last time I rode in, it was easy to 
note the increasing excitement of the Jews. They ran 
about in crowds, chattering and spouting. Some were 
proclaiming the end of the world. Others satisfied them- 
selves with the imminent destruction of the Temple. And 
there were rank revolutionists who announced that Poman 
rule was over and the new Jewish kingdom about to begin. 

Pilate, too, I noted, showed heavy anxiety. That they 
were giving him a hard time of it Avas patent. But I will 
say, as you shall see, that he matched their subtlety with 
equal subtlety ; and from what I saw of him I have little 
doubt but what he would have confounded many a dis- 
putant in the synagogues. 

" But half a legion of Romans," he regretted to me, 
" and I would take Jerusalem by the throat . . . and then 
be recalled for my pains, I suppose." 

Like me, he had not too much faith in the auxiliaries; 
and of Eoman soldiers we had but a scant handful. 

Back again, I lodged in the palace, and to my great 
joy found Miriam there. But little satisfaction was mine, 
for the talk ran long on the situation. There was reason 
for this, for the city buzzed like the angry hornet's nest it 
was. The fast called the Passover — a religious affair, of 
course — was near, and thousands were pouring in from 
the country, according to custom, to celebrate the feast in 
Jerusalem. These newcomers, naturally, were all excit- 
able folk, else they would not be bent on such pilgrimage. 
The city was packed with them, so that many camped out- 



THE STAR EOVER 231 

side the walls. As for me, I could not distinguish how 
much of the ferment was due to the teachings of the wan- 
dering fisherman, and how much of it was due to Jewish 
hatred for Rome. 

" A tithe, no more, and maybe not so much, is due to 
this Jesus," Pilate answered my query. " Look to Caia- 
phas and Hanan for the main cause of the excitement. 
They know what they are about. They are stirring it 
up, to what end who can tell, except to cause me trouble." 

^' Yes, it is certain that Caiaphas and Hanan are re- 
sponsible," Miriam said, " but you, Pontius Pilate, are 
only a Roman and do not understand. Were you a Jew, 
you would realize that there is a greater seriousness at 
the bottom of it than mere dissension of the sectaries or 
trouble-making for you and Rome. The high priests and 
Pharisees, every Jew of place or wealth, Philip, Antipas, 
myself — we are all fighting for very life. 

" This fisherman may be a madness. If so, there is a 
cunning in his madness. He preaches the doctrine of the 
poor. He threatens our Law, and our Law is our life, as 
you have learned ere this. We are jealous of our Law, 
as you would be jealous of the air denied your body by 
a throttling hand on your throat. It is Caiaphas and 
Hanan and all they stand for, or it is the fisherman. 
They must destroy him, else he will destroy them." 

" Is it not strange, so simple a man, a fisherman ? " 
Pilate's wife breathed forth. " What manner of man can 
he be to possess such power ? I would that I could see 
him. I would that with my own eyes I could see so re- 
markable a man." 

Pilate's brows corrugated at her words, and it was clear 
that to the burden on his nerves was added the over- 
wrought state of his wife's nerves. 

" If you would see him, beat up the dens of the town," 
Miriam laughed spitefully. " You will find him wine- 



232 THE STAR EOVER 

bibbing or in the company of nameless women. Never so 
strange a prophet came up to Jerusalem." 

" And what harm in that ? " I demanded, driven against 
my will to take the part of the fisherman. " Have I not 
wine-guzzled a-plenty and passed strange nights in all the 
provinces ? The man is a man, and his ways are men's 
ways, else am I a madman, which I here deny." 
j Miriam shook her head as she spoke. 
/ " He is not mad. Worse, he is dangerous. All Ebion- 
\ ism is dangerous. He would destroy all things that are 
fixed. He is a revolutionist. He would destroy what 
little is left to us of the Jewish state and Temple." 

Here Pilate shook his head. 

" He is not political. I have had report of him. He 
is a visionary. There is no sedition in him. He affirms 
the Eoman tax even." 

" Still you do not understand," Miriam persisted. " It 
is not what he plans; it is the effect, if his plans are 
achieved, that makes him a revolutionist. I doubt that he 
foresees the effect. Yet is the man a plague, and, like 
any plague, should be stamped out." 

" From all that I have heard, he is a good-hearted, sim- 
ple man with no evil in him," I stated. 

And thereat I told of the healing of the ten lepers I had 
witnessed in Samaria on my way through Jericho. 

Pilate's wife sat entranced at what I told. Came to 
our ears distant shoutings and cries of some street crowd, 
and we knew the soldiers were keeping the streets cleared. 

" And you believe this wonder, Lodbrog ? " Pilate de- 
manded. " You believe that in the flash of an eye the 
festering sores departed from the lepers ? " 

" I saw them healed," I replied. " I followed them to 
make certain. There was no leprosy in them." 

" But did you see them sore ? — before the healing ? " 
Pilate insisted. 



THE STAR EOVER 233 

I shook my head. 

" I was only told so," I admitted. " When I saw them 
afterward, they had all the seeming of men who had once 
been lepers. They were in a daze. There was one who 
sat in the sun and ever searched his body and stared and 
stared at the smooth flesh as if unable to believe his eyes. 
He would not speak, nor look at aught else than his flesh, 
when I questioned him. He was in amaze. He sat there 
in the sun and stared and stared." 

Pilate smiled contemptuously, and I noted the quiet 
smile on Miriam's face was equally contemptuous. And 
Pilate's wife sat as if a corpse, scarce breathing, her eyes 
wide and unseeing. 

Spoke Ambivius : " Caiaphas holds — he told me but 
yesterday — that the fisherman claims that he will bring 
God down on earth and make here a new kingdom over 
which God will rule — " 

" Which would mean the end of Roman rule," I broke 
in. 

" That is where Caiaphas and Hanan plot to embroil 
Pome," Miriam explained. " It is not true. It is a lie 
they have made." 

Pilate nodded and asked: 

" Is there not somewhere in your ancient books a proph- 
ecy that the priests here twist into the intent of this fisher- 
man's mind ? " 

To this she agreed, and gave him the citation. I re- 
late the incident to evidence the depth of Pilate's study 
of this people he strove so hard to keep in order. 

" What I have heard," Miriam continued, " is that this 
Jesus preaches the end of the world and the beginning of 
God's kingdom, not here, but in heaven." 

" I have had report of that," Pilate said. " It is true. 
This Jesus holds the justness of the Roman tax. He holds 
that Rome shall rule until all rule passes away with the 



234 THE STAE EOVEE 

passing of the world. I see more clearly the trick Hanan 
is playing me." 

" It is even claimed by some of his followers," Ambiviua 
volunteered, " that he is God himself." 

" I have no report that he has so said," Pilate replied. 

" Why not ? " his wife breathed. " Why not ? Gods 
have descended to earth before." 

" Look you," Pilate said. " I have it by creditable re- 
port, that after this Jesus had worked some wonder 
whereby a multitude was fed on several loaves and fishes, 
the foolish Galileans were for making him a king. 
Against his will they would make him a king. To escape 
them he fled into the mountains. No madness there. He 
was too wise to accept the fate they would have forced upon 
him." 

" Yet that is the very trick Hanan would force upon 
you," Miriam reiterated. " They claim for him that he 
would be king of the Jews — an offense against Eoman 
law, wherefore Eome must deal with him." 

Pilate shrugged his shoulders. 

" A king of the beggars, rather ; or a king of the 
dreamers. He is no fool. He is visionary, but not vi- 
sionary of this world's power. All luck go with him in 
the next world, for that is beyond Eome's jurisdiction." 

" He holds that property is sin — that is what hits the 
Pharisees," Ambivius spoke up. 

Pilate laughed heartily. 

" This king of the beggars and his fellow beggars still 
do respect property," he explained. " For look you, not 
long ago they had even a treasurer for their wealth. 
Judas his name was, and there were words in that he 
stole from their common purse which he carried." 

" Jesus did not steal ? " Pilate's wife asked. 

" No," Pilate answered ; " it was Judas, the treasurer." 



THE STAK EOVER 235 

" Who was this John ? " I questioned. " He was in 
trouble up Tiberias way and Antipas executed him." 

'' Another one," Miriam answered. " He was born 
near Hebron. He was an enthusiast and a desert-dweller. 
Either he or his followers claimed that he was Elijah 
raised from the dead. Elijah, you see, was one of our old 
prophets." 

" Was he seditious ? " I asked. 

Pilate grinned and shook his head, then said : 

" He fell out with Antipas over the matter of Herodias. 
John was a moralist. It is too long a story, but he paid 
for it with his head. No, there was nothing political in 
that affair." 

"It is also claimed by some that Jesus is the Son of 
David," Miriam said. " But it is absurd. Nobody at 
Nazareth believes it. You see, his whole family, includ- 
ing his married sisters, lives there and is known to all of 
them. They are a simple folk, mere common people." 

" I wish it were as simple, the report of all this com- 
plexity that I must send to Tiberius," Pilate grumbled. 
" And now this fisherman is come to Jerusalem, the place 
is packed with pilgrims ripe for any trouble, and Hanan 
stirs and stirs the broth." 

" And before he is done he will have his way," Miriam 
forecast. " He has laid the task for you, and you will 
perform it." 

" Which is ? " Pilate queried. 

" The execution of this fisherman." 

Pilate shook his head stubbornly, but his wife cried out: 

" No ! No ! It would be a shameful wrong. The 
man has done no evil. He has not offended against 
Pome." 

She looked beseechingly to Pilate, who continued to 
shake his head. 



236 THE STAR EOVER 

" Let them do their own beheading, as Antipas did," he 
growled. " The fisherman counts for nothing ; but I shall 
be no cat's-paw to their schemes. If they must destroy 
him, they must destroy him. That is their affair." 

" But you will not permit it," cried Pilate's wife. 

" A pretty time would I have explaining to Tiberius if 
I interfered," was his reply. 

" No matter what happens," said Miriam, " I can see 
you writing explanations, and soon; for Jesus is already 
come up to Jerusalem and a number of his fishermen with 
him." 

Pilate showed the irritation this information caused 
him. 

" I have no interest in his movements," he pronounced. 
" I hope never to see him." 

" Trust Hanan to find him for you," Miriam replied, 
" and to bring him to your gate." 

Pilate shrugged his shoulders, and there the talk ended. 
Pilate's wife, nervous and overwrought, must claim Miriam 
to her apartments, so that nothing remained for me but 
to go to bed and doze off to the buzz and murmur of the 
city of madmen. 

Events moved rapidly. Over night the white heat of 
the city had scorched upon itself. By midday, when I rode 
forth with half a dozen of my men, the streets were 
packed, and more reluctant than ever were the folk to give 
way before me. If looks could kill, I should have been 
a dead man that day. Openly the!^ spat at sight of me, 
and everywhere arose snarls and cries. 

Less was I a thing of wonder, and more was I the thing 
hated in that I wore the hated harness of Pome. Had it 
been any other city, I should have given command to my 
men to lay the flats of their swords on those snarling 
fanatics. But this was Jerusalem, at fever heat, and these 



THE STAR EOVER 237 

were a people unable in thought to divorce the idea of 
State from the idea of God. 

Hanan the Sadducee had done his work well. No mat- 
ter what he and the Sanhedrim believed of the true inward- 
ness of the situation, it was clear this rabble had been well 
tutored to believe that Eome was at the bottom of it. 

I encountered Miriam in the press. She was on foot, 
attended only by a woman. It was no time in such tur- 
bulence for her to be abroad garbed as became her station. 
Through her sister she was indeed sister-in-law to Antipas 
for whom few bore love. So she was dressed discreetly, 
her face covered, so that she might pass as any Jewish 
woman of the lower orders. But not to my eye could she 
hide that fine stature of her, that carriage and walk, so 
different from other women's, of which I had already 
dreamed more than once. 

Few and quick were the words we were able to ex- 
change, for the way jammed on the moment, and soon my 
men and horses were being pressed and jostled. Miriam 
was sheltered in an angle of house-wall. 

" Have they got the fisherman yet ? " I asked. 

" No ; but he is just outside the wall. He has ridden 
up to Jerusalem on an ass, with a multitude before and 
behind, and some, poor dupes, have hailed him as he passed 
as King of Israel. That finally is the pretext with which 
Hanan will compel Pilate. Truly, though not yet taken, 
the sentence is already written. This fisherman is a dead 
man." 

" But Pilate will not arrest him," I defended. 

Miriam shook her head. 

" Hanan will attend to that. They will bring him be- 
fore the Sanhedrim. The sentence will be death. They 
may stone him." 

" But the Sanhedrim has not the right to execute," I 
contended. 



23g THE STAE ROVER 

" Jesus is not a Roman," she replied. " He is a Jew. 
By the law of the Talmud he is guilty of death, for he has 
blasphemed against the Law." 

Still I shook my head. 

" The Sanhedrim has not the right." 

'' Pilate is willing that it should take that right." 

*' But it is a fine question of legality," I insisted. 
'' You know what the Romans are in such matters." 

" Then will Hanan avoid the question," she smiled, 
*' by compelling Pilate to crucify him. In either event it 
will be welL" 

A surging of the mob was sweeping our horses along 
and grinding our knees together. Some fanatic had 
fallen, and I could feel my horse recoil and half rear as it 
tramped on him, and I could hear the man screaming and 
the snarling menace from all about rising to a roar. But 
my head was over my shoulder as I called back to Miriam : 

" You are hard on a man you have said yourself is 
without evil." 

" I am hard upon the evil that will come of him if he 
lives," she replied. 

Scarcely did I catch her words, for a man sprang in, 
seizing my bridle rein and leg and struggling to unhorse 
me. With my open palm, leaning forward, I smote him. 
full upon cheek and jaw. My hand covered the face of 
him, and a hearty will of weight was in the blow. The 
dwellers in Jerusalem are not used to men's buifets. I 
have often wondered since if I broke the fellow's neck. 

I^Text I saw Miriam was the following day. I met her 
in the court of Pilate's palace. She seemed in a dream. 
Scarce her eyes saw me. Scarce her wits embraced my 
identity. So strange was she, so in daze and amaze and 
far-seeing were her eyes, that I was reminded of the lepers 
I had seen healed in Samaria. 



THE STAR EOVER 239 

She became herself by an effort, but only her outward 
self. In her eyes was a message unreadable. Never be- 
fore had I seen woman's eyes so. 

She would have passed me uugreeted, had I not con- 
fronted her way. She paused and murmured words me- 
chanically, but all the while her eyes dreamed through me 
and beyond me with the largeness of the vision that filled 
them. 

" I have seen Him, Lodbrog," she whispered. " I have 
seen Him." 

" The gods grant that he is not so ill-affected by the 
sight of you, whoever he may be," I laughed. 

She took no notice of my poor-timed jest, and her eyes 
remained full with vision, and she would have passed on 
had I not again blocked her way. 

" Who is this he ? " I demanded. " Some man raised 
from the dead to put such strange light in your eyes ? " 

" One who has raised others from the dead," she replied. 
" Truly I believe that He, this Jesus, has raised the dead. 
He is the Prince of Light, the Son of God. I have seen 
Him. Truly I believe that He is the Son of God." 

Little could I glean from her words, save that she had 
met this wandering fisherman and been swept away by his 
folly. For surely this Miriam was not the Miriam who 
had branded him a plague and demanded that he be 
stamped out as any plague. 

" He has charmed you," I cried angrily. 

Her eyes seemed to moisten and grow deeper as she*' 
gave confirmation. 

" Oh, Lodbrog, His is charm beyond all thinking, be- 
yond all describing. But to look upon Him is to know 
that here is the all-soul of goodness and of compassion. I 
have seen Him. I have heard Him. I shall give all I 
have to the poor, and I shall follow Him." 

Such was her certitude that I accepted it fully, as I 



240 THE STAK EOVEE 

had accepted the amazement of the lepers of Samaria star- 
ing at their smooth flesh; and I was bitter that so great 
a woman should be so easily wit-addled by a vagrant 
wonder-worker. 

" Follow him," I sneered. " Doubtless you will wear 
a crown when he wins to his kingdom." 

She nodded affirmation, and I could have struck her in 
the face for her folly. I drew aside, and as she moved 
slowly on she murmured: 

" His kingdom is not here. He is the Son of David. 
He is the Son of God. He is whatever He has said, or 
whatever has been said of Him that is good and great." 

" A wise man of the East," I found Pilate chuckling. 
" He is a thinker, this unlettered fisherman. I have 
sought more deeply into him. I have fresh report. He 
has no need of wonder-workings. He out-sophisticates the 
most sophistical of them. They have laid traps, and he 
has laughed at their traps. Look you. Listen to this." 

Whereupon he told me how Jesus had confounded his 
confounders when they brought to him for judgment a 
woman taken in adultery. 

'^ And the tax," Pilate exulted on. " ' To Caesar what 
is Caesar's, to God what is God's,' was his answer to them. 
That was Hanan's trick, and Hanan is confounded. At 
last has there appeared one Jew who understands our 
Eoman conception of the State." 

l^ext I saw Pilate's wife. Looking into her eyes, I 
knew on the instant, after having seen Miriam's eyes, that 
this tense, distraught woman had likewise seen the fisher- 
man. 

" The Divine is within Him," she murmured to me. 
" There is within Him a personal awareness of the in- 
dwelling of God." 



THE STAK ROVEK 241 

" Is he God ? " I queried gently, for say something I 
must. 

She shook her head. 

" I do not know. He has not said. But this I know : 
of such stuff gods are made." 

" A charmer of women," was my pri\'y judgment, as I 
left Pilate's wife walking in dreams and visions. 

The last days are kno\vn to all of you who read these 
lines, and it was in those last days that I learned that this 
Jesus was equally a charmer of men. He charmed Pilate. 
He charmed me. 

After Hanan had sent Jesus to Caiaphas, and the Sanhe- 
drim, assembled in Caiaphas's house, had condemned Jesus 
to death, Jesus, escorted by a howling mob, was sent to 
Pilate for execution. 

Now, for his own sake and for Pome's sake, Pilate did 
not want to execute him. Pilate was little interested in 
the fisherman and greatly interested in peace and order. 
What cared Pilate for a man's life ? — for many men's 
lives ? The school of Pome was iron, and the governors 
sent out by Rome to rule conquered peoples were likewise 
iron. Pilate thought and acted in governmental abstrac- 
tions. Yet, look : when Pilate went out scowling to meet 
the mob that had fetched the fisherman, he fell immediately 
under the charm of the man. 

I was present. I know. It was the first time Pilate 
had ever seen him. Pilate went out angry. Our soldiers 
were in readiness to clear the court of its noisy vermin. 
And immediately Pilate laid eyes on the fisherman, Pilate 
was subdued — nay, was solicitous. He disclaimed juris- 
diction, demanded that they judge the fisherman by their 
Law and deal with him by their Law, since the fisherman 
was a Jew and not a Roman. Never were there Jews so 
obedient to Roman rule. They cried out that it was un- 



242 THE STAE ROVER 

lawful, under Rome, for them to put any man to death. 
Yet Antipas had beheaded John and come to no grief of 
it. 

And Pilate left them in the court, open under the sky, 
and took Jesus alone into the judgment hall. What hap- 
. pened therein I know not, save that when Pilate emerged 
I he was changed. Whereas before he had been disinclined 
to execute because he would not be made a cat's-paw to 
Hanan, he was now disinclined to execute because of re- 
gard for the fisherman. His effort now was to save the 
fisherman. And all the while the mob cried : " Crucify 
him ! Crucify him ! " 

You, my reader, know the sincerity of Pilate's effort. 
[You know how he tried to befool the mob, first, by mock- 
ing Jesus as a harmless fool ; and, second, by offering to 
release him according to the custom of releasing one pris- 
oner at time of the Passover. And you know how the 
priests' quick whisperings led the mob to cry out for the 
release of the murderer Bar-Abba. 

In vain Pilate struggled against the fate being thrust 
upon him by the priests. By sneer and jibe he hoped to 
make a farce of the transaction. He laughingly called 
Jesus the King of the Jews and ordered him to be 
; scourged. His hope was that all would end in laughter 
and in laughter be forgotten. 

I am glad to say that no Roman soldiers took part in 
what followed. It was the soldiers of the auxiliaries who 
crowned and cloaked Jesus, put the reed of sovereignty in 
his hand, and, kneeling, hailed him King of the Jews. 
Although it failed, it was a play to placate. And I, look- 
ing on, learned the charm of Jesus. Despite the cruel 
mockery of his situation, he was regal. And I was quiet 
as I gazed. It was his own quiet that went into me. I 
was soothed and satisfied, and was without bewilderment. 
This thing had to be. All was well. The serenity of 



THE STAK EOVEE 243 

Jesus in the heart of the tumult and pain became my 
serenity. I "was scarce moved by any thought to save 
him. 

On the other hand, I had gazed on too many wonders of 
the human in my wild and varied years to be affected to 
foolish acts by this particular wonder. I was all serenity. 
I had no word to say. I had no judgment to pass. I 
knew that things were occurring beyond my comprehen- 
sion, and that they must occur. 

Still Pilate struggled. The tumult increased. The 
cry for blood rang through the court, and all were clamor- 
ing for crucifixion. Again Pilate went back into the judg- 
ment hall. His effort at a farce having failed, he at- 
tempted to disclaim jurisdiction. Jesus was not of Je- 
rusalem. He was a born subject of Antipas, and to Anti- 
pas Pilate was for sending Jesus. 

But the uproar was by now communicating itself to the 
city. Our troops outside the palace were being swept 
away in the vast street mob. Rioting had begun that in 
the flash of an eye could turn into civil war and revolu- 
tion. My own twenty legionaries were close to hand and 
in readiness. They loved the fanatic Jews no more than 
did I, and would have welcomed my command to clear the 
court with naked steel. 

When Pilate came out again, his words for Antipas' 
jurisdiction could not be heard, for all the mob was shout- 
ing that Pilate was a traitor, that if he let the fisherman 
go he was no friend of Tiberius. Close before me, as I 
leaned against the wall, a mangy, bearded, long-haired 
fanatic sprang up and down unceasingly, and unceasingly 
chanted : " Tiberius is emperor ; there is no king ! Ti- 
berius is emperor ; there is no king ! " I lost patience. 
The man's near noise was an offense. Lurching sidewise, 
as if by accident, I ground my foot on his to a terrible 
crushing. The fool seemed not to notice. He was too 



244 THE STAR ROVER 

mad to be aware of the pain, and lie continued to chant: 
" Tiberius is emperor ; there is no king ! " 

I saw Pilate hesitate. Pilate, the Roman governor, for 
the moment was Pilate the man, with a man's anger against 
the miserable creatures clamoring for the blood of so sweet 
and simple, brave and good a spirit as this Jesus. 

I saw Pilate hesitate. His gaze roved to me, as if he ' 
were about to signal to me to let loose ; and I half -started 
forward, releasing the mangled foot under my foot. I 
was for leaping to complete that half-formed wish of Pi- 
late and to sweep away in blood and cleanse the court of 
the wretched scum that howled in it. 

It was not Pilate's indecision that decided me. It was 
this Jesus that decided Pilate and me. This Jesus looked 
at me. He commanded me. I tell you, this vagrant 
fisherman, this wandering preacher, this piece of driftage 
from Galilee, commanded me. No word he uttered. Yet 
his command was there, unmistakable as a trumpet call. 
And I stayed my foot, and held my hand, for who was 
I to thwart the will and way of so greatly serene and 
sweetly sure a man as this? And as I stayed, I knew 
all the charm of him — all that in him had charmed 
Miriam and Pilate's wife, that had charmed Pilate him- 
self. 

You know the rest. Pilate washed his hands of Jesus' 
blood, and the rioters took his blood upon their own heads. 
Pilate gave orders for the crucifixion. The mob was con- 
tent, and content, behind the mob, were Caiaphas, Hanan, 
and the Sanhedrim. Not Pilate, not Tiberius, not Roman 
soldiers, crucified Jesus. It was the priestly rulers and 
L ypriestly politicians of Jerusalem. I saw. I know. And 
^' " .against his own best interests Pilate would have saved 
Jesus, as I would have, had it not been that no other than 
Jesus himself willed that he was not to be saved. 

Yes, and Pilate had his last sneer at this people he 



THE STAE EOVEK 245 

detested. In Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, he had a writing 
aflfixed to Jesus' cross which read, " The King of the Jews." 
In vain the priests complained. It was on this very pre- 
text that they had forced Pilate's hand; and by this pre- 
text, a scorn and insult to the Jewish race, Pilate abided. 
Pilate executed an abstraction that had never existed in 
the real. The abstraction was a cheat and a lie manufac- 
tured in the priestly mind. Neither the priests nor Pilate 
believed it. ■ Jesus denied it. That abstraction was '' The 
King of the Jews." 

The storm was over in the courtyard. The excitement 
had simmered down. Revolution had been averted. The 
priests were content, the mob was satisfied, and Pilate and 
I were well disgusted and weary with the whole affair. 
And yet for him and me was more and most immediate 
storm. Before Jesus was taken away, one of Miriam's 
women called me to her. And I saw Pilate, summoned 
by one of his wife's women, likewise obey. 

" Oh, Lodbrog, I have heard," Miriam met me. We 
were alone, and she was close to me, seeking shelter and 
strength within my arms. " Pilate has weakened. He 
is going to crucify Him. But there is time. Your own 
men are ready. Ride with them. Only a centurion and 
a handful of soldiers are with Ilim. They have not yet 
started. As soon as they do start, follow. They must not 
reach Golgotha. But wait until they are outside the city 
wall. Then countermand the order. Take an extra horse 
for Him to ride. The rest is easy. Ride away into 
Syria with Him, or into Idumjca, or anywhere so long as 
He be saved." 

She concluded with her arms around my neck, her face 
upturned to mine and temptingly close, her eyes greatly 
solemn and greatly promising. 

Small wonder I was slow of speech. For the moment 



246 THE STAK KOVER 

there "was but one thouglit in my brain. After all the 
strange play I had seen played out, to have this come upon 
me ! ' I did not misunderstand. The thing was clear. A 
I great woman was mine if ... if I betrayed Eome. For 
Pilate was governor ; his order had gone forth ; and his 
voice was the voice of Rome. 

As I have said, it was the woman of her, her sheer' 
womanliness, that betrayed Miriam and me in the end. 
Always she had been so clear, so reasonable, so certain of 
herself and me, so that I had forgotten, or, rather, I__there 
learned once again the eternal lesson learned in all lives, • 
that woman is ever woman — that in great decisive mo- 
<^ S/^ Iments woman does not reason but feels; that the last 
^""^ 'sanctuary and innermost pulse to conduct is in woman's 
heart and not in woman's head. 

Miriam misunderstood my silence, for her body moved 
softly within my arms as she added, as if in afterthought : 

" Take two spare horses, Lodbrog. I shall ride the 
other . . . with you . . . with you, away over the world, 
"wherever you may ride." 

It was a bribe of kings; it was an act, paltry and con- 
temptible, that was demanded of me in return. Still I 
did not speak. It was not that I was in confusion or in 
any doubt. I was merely sad — greatly and suddenly 
sad, in that I knew I held in my arms what I would never 
hold again. 

" There is but one man in Jerusalem this day who can 
save Him," she urged, " and that man is you, Lodbrog." 

Because I did not immediately reply, she shook me, as 
if in impulse to clarify wits she considered addled. She 
shook me till my harness rattled. 

" Speak, Lodbrog, speak ! " she commanded. " You 
are strong and unafraid. You are all man. I know you 
despise the vermin who would destroy Him. You, you 



THE STAE EOVER 247 

alone, can save Him. You have but to say the word and 
the thing is done ; and I will well love you and always love 
you for the thing you have done." 

" I am a Eoman/' I said slowly, knowing full well that 
with the words I gave up all hope of her. 

" You are a man-slave of Tiberius, a hound of Eome," 
she flamed, " but you owe Eome nothing for you are not a 
Eoman. You yellow giants of the north are not Eomans." 

" The Eomans are the elder brothers of us younglings 
of the north," I answered. " Also, I wear the harness and 
I eat the bread of Eome." Gently I added : " But why 
all this fuss and fury for a mere man's life? All men 
must die. Simple and easy it is to die. To-day, or a 
hundred years, it little matters. Sure we are, all of us, 
of the same event in the end." 

Quick she was, and alive with passion to save, as she 
thrilled within my arms. 

" You do not understand, Lodbrog. This is no mere 
man. I tell you this is a man beyond men — a living 
Grod, not of men, but over men." 

I held her closely, and knew that I was renouncing all 
the sweet woman of her as I said : 

" We are man and woman, you and I. Our life is of 
this world. Of these other worlds is all a madness. Let 
these mad dreamers go the way of their dreaming. Deny 
them not what they desire above all things, above meat and 
wine, above song and battle, even above love of woman. 
Deny them not their hearts' desires that draw them across 
the dark of the grave to their dreams of lives beyond this 
world. Let them pass. But you and I abide here in all 
the sweet we have discovered of each other. Quickly 
enough will come the dark, and you depart for your coasts 
of sun and flowers and I for the roaring table of Val- 
halla." 



248 THE STAR EOVER 

" No ! no ! " she cried, half -tearing herself away. 
" You do not understand. All of greatness, all of good- 
ness, all of God are in this man who is more than man ; and 
it is a shameful death to die. Only slaves and thieves 
so die. He is neither slave nor thief. He is an im- 
mortal. He is God. Truly I tell you he is God." 

" He is immortal, you say," I contended. " Then to 
die to-day on Golgotha will not shorten his immortality 
by a hair's breadth in the span of time. He is a god, you 
say. Gods cannot die. From all I have been told of 
them, it is certain that gods cannot die." 

" Oh ! " she cried. " You will not understand. You 
are only a great giant thing of flesh." 

"Is it not said that this event was prophesied of old 
time ? " I queried, for I had been learning from the Jews 
what I deemed their subtleties of thinking. 

" Yes, yes," she agreed, " the Messianic prophecies. 
This is the Messiah." 

" Then who am I," I asked, " to make liars of the 
prophets ? to make of the Messiah a false Messiah ? Is 
the prophecy of your people so feeble a thing that I, a 
stupid stranger, a yellow northling in the Eoman harness, 
can give the lie to prophecy and compel to be unfulfilled 
the very thing willed by the gods and foretold by the wise 
men ? " ' 

" You do not understand," she repeated. 

" I understand too well," I replied. " Am I greater 
than the gods that I may thwart the will of the gods? 
Then are gods vain things and the playthings of men. I 
am a man. I, too, bow to the gods, to all gods, for I do 
believe in all gods, else how came all gods to be ? " 

She flung herself so that my hungry arms were empty 
of her, and we stood apart and listened to the uproar of 
the street as Jesus and the soldiers emerged and started 
on their way. And my heart was sore in that so great a 



THE STAK EOVER 249 

woman could be so foolish. She would save God. She 
would make herself greater than God. 

" You do not love me," she said slowly, and slowly grew 
in her eyes a promise of herself too deep and wide for 
any words. 

" I love you beyond your understanding, it seems," was 
my reply. '^ I am proud to love ^-ou, for I know I am 
worthy to love you and am worth all love you may give 
me. But Eome is my foster mother, and were I untrue 
to her, of little pride, of little worth, would be my love for 
you." 

The uproar that followed about Jesus and the soldiers 
died away along the street. And when there was no fur- 
ther sound of it, Miriam turned to go, with neither word 
nor look for me. 

I knew one last rush of mad hunger for her. I sprang 
and seized her. I would horse her and ride away with 
her and my men into Syria away from this cursed city of 
folly. She struggled. I crushed her. She struck me on 
the face, and I continued to hold and crush her, for the 
blows were sweet. And then she ceased to struggle. She 
became cold and motionless, so that I knew there was no 
woman's love that my arms girdled. For me she was 
dead. Slowly I let go of her. Slowly she stepped back. 
As if she did not see me, she turned and went away across 
the quiet room, and without looking back passed through 
the hangings and was gone. 

I, Ragnar Lodbrog, never came to read nor write. But 
in my days I have listened to great talk. As I see it now,' 
I never learned great talk, such as that of the Jews,, 
learned in their Law, nor such as that of the jRomansj 
learned in their philosophy and in the philosophy of tho~ / 
Greeks. Yet have I talked in simplicity and straightness, 
as a man may well talk who has lived life from the ships 



250 THE STAR ROVEE 

of Tostig Lodbrog and the roof of Brunanbuhr across tlie 
world to Jerusalem and back again. And straight talk 
and simple I gave Sulpicius Quirinius, when I went away 
into Syria to report to him of the various matters that had 
been at issue in Jerusalem. 



CHAPTER XYIII 

Suspended animation is nothing new, not alone in the 
vegetable world and in the lower forms of animal life, 
but in the highly evolved, complex organism of man him- 
self. A cataleptic trance is a cataleptic trance, no mat- 
ter how induced. From time immemorial the fakir of 
India has been able voluntarily to induce such states in 
himself. It is an old trick of the fakirs to have them- 
selves buried alive. Other men, in similar trances, have 
misled the physicians, who pronounced them dead and 
gave the orders that put them alive under the ground. 

As my jacket experiences in San Quentin continued, I 
dwelt not a little on this problem of suspended animation. 
I remembered having read that the far northern Siberian 
peasants made a practice of hibernating through the long 
winters just as bears and other wild animals do. Some 
scientist studied these peasants and found that during 
these periods of the " long sleep," respiration and diges- 
tion practically ceased, and that the heart was at so low 
tension as to defy detection by ordinary, layman's exam- 
ination. 

In such a trance the bodily processes are so near to ab- 
solute suspension that the air and food consumed are prac- 
tically negligible. On this reasoning, partly, was based 
my defiance of Warden Atherton and Doctor Jackson. 
It was thus that I dared challenge them to give me a hun- 
dred days in the jacket. And they did not dare accept 
my challenge. 

Nevertheless, I did manage to do without water, as well 

as food, during my ten-days' bouts. I found it an in- 

251 



252 THE STAK EOVER 

tolerable nuisance, in the deeps of dream across space and 
time, to be haled back to the sordid present by a despicable 
prison doctor pressing water to my lips. So I warned 
Doctor Jackson, first, that I intended doing without 
water while in the jacket; and next, that I would resist 
any efforts to compel me to drink. 

Of course, we had our little struggle; but after several 
attempts Doctor Jackson gave it up. Thereafter, the space 
occupied in Darrell Standing's life by a jacket-bout was 
scarcely more than a few ticks of the clock. Immediately 
I was laced, I devoted myself to inducing the little death. 
From practice it became simple and easy. I suspended 
animation and consciousness so quickly that I escaped the 
really terrible suffering consequent upon suspending cir- 
culation. Most quickly came the dark. And the next I, 
Darrell Standing, knew, was the light again, the faces 
bending over me as I was unlaced, and the knowledge that 
ten days had passed in the twinkling of an eye. 

But oh, the wonder and the glory of those ten days spent 
by me elsewhere! The journeys through the long chain 
of existences! The long darks, the growings of nebulous 
lights, and the fluttering apparitional selves that dawned 
through the growing light ! 
; Much have I pondered upon the relation of these other 

tlves to me, and of the relation of the total experience 
the modern doctrine of evolution. I can truly say that 
my experience is in complete accord with our conclusions 
of evolution, 

I, like any man, am a growth. I did not begin when I 
was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been grow- 
ing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millen- 
niums. All these experiences of all these lives, and of 
■countless other lives, of countless other lives, have gone to 
the making of the soul-stuff or the spirit-stuff that is I. 
Don't you see? They are the stuff of me. Matter does 



THE STAR ROVER 253 

not remember, for spirit is memory. I am this spirit 
compounded of the memories of my endless incarnations. 

Whence came in me, Darrell Standing, the red pulse of 
wrath that has wrecked my life and put me in the con- 
demned cells ? Surely, it did not come into being, was not 
created, when the babe that was to be Darrell Standing 
was conceived. That old red w^ath is far older than my 
mother, far older than the oldest and first mother of men. 
My mother, at my inception, did not create that passionate 
lack of fear that is mine. Not all the mothers of the 
whole evolution of man manufactured fear or fearlessness 
in men. Far back beyond the first men were fear and 
fearlessness, love, hatred, anger, all the emotions, grow- 
ing, developing, becoming the stuff that was to become 
men. 

I am all of my past, as every protagonist of the Men- 
delian law must agree. All my previous selves have their 
voices, echoes, promptings, in me. My every mode of 
action, heat of passion, flicker of thought, is shaded, toned, 
infinitesimally shaded and toned, by that vast array of 
other selves that preceded me and went into the making of 
me. 

The stuff of life is plastic. At the same time this stuff 
never forgets. Mold it as you will, the old memories per- 
sist. All manner of horses, from ton Sires to dwarf 
Shetlands, have been bred up and down from those first 
wild ponies domesticated by primitive man. Yet to this 
day man has not bred out the kick of the horse. And I, 
who am composed of those first horse tamers, have not 
had their red anger bred out of me. 

I am man born of woman. ]My days are few, but the 
stuff of me is indestructible. I have been woman born of 
woman. I have been a woman and borne my children. And 
I shall be born again. Oh, incalculable times again shall 
I be bom ; and yet the stupid dolts about me think that by^ 



254 THE STAR EOVER 

stretching my neck with a rope they will make me cease. 

Yes, I shall be hanged . .. . soon. This is the end of 
June. In a little while they will try to befool me. They 
will take me from this cell to the bath, according to the 
prison custom of the weekly bath. But I shall not be 
brought back to this cell. I shall be dressed outright in 
fresh clothes and be taken to the death cell. There they 
will place the death-watch on me. Night or day, waking 
or sleeping, I shall be watched. I shall not be permitted 
to put my head under the blankets for fear I may antici- 
pate the state by choking myself. 

Always bright light will blaze upon me. And then, 
when they have well wearied me, they will lead me out 
one morning in a shirt without a collar and drop me 
through the trap. Oh, I know. The rope they will do 
it with is well stretched. For many a month, now, the 
hangman of Folsom has been stretching it with heavy 
weights so as to take the spring out of it. 

Yes, I shall drop far. They have cunning tables of 
calculations, like interest tables, that show the distance of 
the drop in relation to the victim's weight. I am so emaci- 
ated that they will have to drop me far in order to break 
my neck. And then the onlookers will take their hats 
off, and as I swing the doctors will press their ears to my 
chest to count my fading heartbeats, and at last they will 
say that I am dead. 

It is grotesque. It is the ridiculous effrontery of men- 
maggots who think they can kill me. I cannot die. I am 
immortal, as they are immortal; the difference is that I 
know it and they do not know it. 

Pah ! I was once a hangman, or an executioner, rather. 
Well I remember it. I used the sword, not the rope. The 
sword is the braver way, although all ways are equally 
inefficacious. Forsooth, as if spirit could be thrust through 
:with steel or throttled by a rope ! 



CHAPTER 'XIX 

Kext to Oppenlieimer and Morrell, who rotted with me 
through the years of darkness, I was considered the most 
dangerous prisoner in San Quentin. On the other hand, 
I was considered the toughest — tougher even than Op- 
penheimer and Morrell. Of course, by toughness I meaii 
enduringness. Terrible as were the attempts to break 
them in body and in spirit, more terrible were the attempts 
to break me. And I endured. Dynamite or curtains, had 
been Warden Atherton's ultimatum. And in the end it 
was neither. I could not produce the dynamite, and 
Warden Atherton could not induce the curtains. 

It was not because my body was enduring, but because 
my spirit was enduring. And it was because, in earlier 
existences, my spirit had been wrought to steel-hardness 
by steel-hard experiences. There was one experience that 
for long was a sort of nightmare to me. It had neither be- 
ginning nor end. Always I found myself on a rocky, 
surge-battered islet so low that in storms the salt spray 
swept over its highest point. It rained much. I lived 
in a lair and suffered greatly, for I was without fire and 
lived on uncooked meat. 

Always I suffered. It was the middle of some expe- 
rience to which I could get no clew. And since, when I 
went into the little death I had no power of directing my 
journeys, I often found myself reliving this particularly; 
detestable experience. My only happy moments were 
w^hen the sun shone, at which times I basked on the rocks 
and thawed out the almost perpetual chill T suffered. 

My one diversion was an oar and a jackknife. Upoii 

255 



256 THE STAK ROVER 

this oar I spent mucli time, carving minute letters and cut- 
ting a notch, for each week that passed. There were many 
notches. I sharpened the knife on a flat piece of rock, 
and no barber was ever more careful of his favorite razor 
than was I of that knife. ISTor did ever a miser prize his 
treasure as did I prize the knife. It was as precious as 
my life. In truth, it was my life. 

By many repetitions, I managed to bring back out of 
the jacket the legend that was carved on the oar. At first 
I could bring but little. Later, it grew easier, a matter 
of piecing portions together. And at last I had the thing 
complete. Here it is: 

This is to acquaint the person into whose hands 
this Oar may fall, that Daniel. Foss, a native of Elk- 
ton, in Maryland, one of the United States of Amer- 
ica, and who sailed from the port of Philadelphia, 
in 1809, on hoard the brig Negociator, hound to the 
Friendly Islands, was cast upon this desolate island 
the February following, where he erected a hut and 
lived a number of years, subsisting on seals — he 
being the last who survived of the crew of said brig, 
which ran foul of an island of ice, and foundered on 
the 25th Nov. 1809. 

There it was, quite clear. By this means I learned a 
lot about myself. One vexed point, however, I never did 
succeed in clearing up. Was this island situated in the 
far South Pacific or the far South Atlantic? I do not 
know enough of sailing-ship tracks to be certain whether 
the brig Negociator would sail for the Friendly Islands 
via Cape Horn or via the Cape of Good Hope. To con- 
fess my own ignorance, not until after I was transferred 
to Folsom did I learn in which ocean were the Friendly 
Islands. The Japanese murderer, whom I have men- 
tioned before, had been a sailmaker on board the Arthur 



THE STAR EOVER 25 T 

Sewall ships, and lie told me that the probable sailing 
course would be by way of the Cape of Good Hope. If 
this were so, then the dates of sailing from Philadelphia 
and of being wrecked would easily determine which ocean. 
Unfortunately, the sailing date is merely 1809. The 
wreck might as likely have occurred in one ocean as the 
other. 

Only once did I, in my trances, get a hint of the period 
preceding the time spent on the island. This begins at the 
moment of the brig's collision Avith the iceberg, and I 
shall narrate it, if for no other reason, at least to give an 
account of my curiously cool and deliberate conduct. 
This conduct at this time, as you shall see, was what en- 
abled me in the end to survive alone of all the ship's com- 
pany. 

I was awakened, in my bunk in the forecastle, by a ter- 
rific crash. In fact, as was true of the other six sleeping 
men of the watch below, awaking and leaping from bunk 
to floor were simultaneous. We knew what had happened. 
The others waited for nothing, rushing only partly clad 
upon deck. But I knew what to expect, and I did wait. 
I knew that if we escaped at all, it would be by the long 
boat. No man could swim in so freezing a sea. And no 
man, thinly clad, could live long in the open boat. Also, 
I knew just about how long it would take to launch the 
boat. 

So, by the light of the wildly swinging slush-lamp, to the 
tumult on deck and to cries of " She's sinking ! " I pro- 
ceeded to ransack my sea-chest for suitable garments. 
Also, since they would never use them again, I ransacked 
the sea-chests of my shipmates. Working quickly but col- 
lectedly, I took nothing but the warmest and stoutest of 
clothes. I put on the four best woolen shirts the forecastle 
boasted, three pairs of pants, and three pairs of thick 
woolen socks. So large were my feet thus incased that 



f5S THE STAE ROYER 

I could not put on my own good boots. Instead, I tHrust 
on Il^icholas Wilton's new boots, which were larger and 
ieven stouter than mine. Also, I put on Jeremy ISTalor's 
pea jacket over my own, and, outside of both, put on Seth 
Richard's thick canvas coat which I remembered he had 
fresh-oiled only a short while previous. 

Two pairs of heavy mittens, John Roberts' mufflei: 
iwhich his mother had knitted for him, and Joseph Dawes' 
beaver cap atop my o^vn, both bearing ear- and neck-flaps, 
completed my outfitting. The shouts that the brig was 
sinking redoubled, but I took a minute longer to fill my 
pockets with all the plug tobacco I could lay hands on. 
Then I climbed out on deck, and not a moment too soon. 

The moon, bursting through a crack of cloud, showed 
a bleak and savage picture. Everywhere was wrecked 
gear, and everywhere was ice. The sails, ropes, and spars 
of the mainmast, which was still standing, were fringed 
[with icicles; and there came over me a feeling almost of 
relief in that never again should I have to pull and haul 
on the stiff tackles and hammer ice so that the frozen ropes 
could run through the frozen shivs. The wind, blowing 
half a gale, cut with the sharpness that is a sign of the 
proximity of icebergs; and the big seas were bitter cold 
]fco look upon in the moonlight. 

f The long boat was lowering away to larboard, and I saw 
men, struggling on the ice-sheeted deck with barrels of pro- 
visions, abandon the food in their haste to get away. In 
vain Captain l^icholl strove with them. A sea, breaching 
across from windward, settled the matter and sent them 
leaping over the rail in heaps. I gained the captain's 
shoulder, and, holding on to him, I shouted in his ear that 
if he would board the boat and prevent the men from cast- 
ing off, I would attend to the provisioning. 
i Little time was given me, however. Scarcely had I 
managed, helped by the second mate, Aaron ISTorthrup, to 



THE STAR ROVER 259 

lower away half a dozen barrels and kegs, when all cried 
from the boat that they were casting off. Good reason 
they had. Down upon us from windward was drifting a 
towering ice-mountain, while to leeward, close aboard, was 
another ice-mountain upon which we were driving.. 

Quicker in his leap was Aaron ISTorthrup. I delayed 
a moment, even as the boat was shoving away, in order 
to select a spot amidships where the men were thickest, 
so that their bodies might break my fall. I was not 
minded to embark with a broken member on so hazardous 
a voyage in the longboat. That the men might have room 
at the oars, I worked my way quickly aft into the stem- 
sheets. Certainly, I had other and sufficient reasons. It 
would be more comfortable in the sternsheets than in the 
narrow bow. And further, it would be well to be near the 
afterguard in whatever troubles that were sure to arise 
under such circumstances in the days to come. 

In the sternsheets were the mate, Walter Drake, the 
surgeon, Arnold Bentham, Aaron ISTorthrup, and Captain 
iNicholl, who was steering. The surgeon was bending over 
Northrup, who lay in the bottom groaning. ISTot so for- 
tunate had he been in his ill-considered leap, for he had 
broken his right leg at the hip joint. 

There was little time for him then, however, for we 
were laboring in a heavy sea directly between the two 
ice islands that were rushing together. Nicholas Wilton, 
at the stroke oar, was cramped for room ; so I better stowed 
the barrels, and, kneeling and facing him, was able to add 
my weight to the oar. For'ard, I could see John Roberts 
straining at the bow oar. Pulling on his shoulders from 
behind, Arthur Haskins and the boy, Benny Hardwater, 
added their weight to his. In fact, so eager were all hands 
to help that more than one was thus in the way and clut- 
tered the movements of the rowers. 

It was close work, but we went clear by a matter of a 



260 THE STAE ROVER 

hundred yards, so that I was able to turn my head and see 
the untimely end of the Negociator. She was caught 
squarely in the pinch and she was squeezed between the ice 
as a sugar plum might be squeezed between thumb and 
forefinger of a boy. In the shouting of the wind and the 
roar of water we heard nothing, although the crack of the 
brig's stout ribs and deckbeams must have been enough to 
waken a hamlet on a peaceful night. 

Silently, easily, the brig's sides squeezed together, the 
deck bulged up, and the crushed remnant dropped down 
and was gone, while where she had been was occupied by 
the grinding conflict of the ice-islands. I felt regret at 
the destruction of this haven against the elements, but at 
the same time was well pleased at thought of my snug- 
ness inside my four shirts and three coats. 

Yet it proved a bitter night, even for me. I was the 
warmest clad in the boat. What the others must have 
suffered I did not care to dwell upon over much. For 
fear that we might meet up with more ice in the darkness, 
we bailed and held the boat bow-on to the seas. And con- 
tinually, now with one mitten, now with the other, I 
rubbed my nose that it might not freeze. Also, with mem- 
ories lively in me of the home circle in Elkton, I prayed 
to God. 

In the morning we took stock. To commence with, all 
but two or three had suffered frost-bite. Aaron North- 
rup, unable to move because of his broken hip, was very 
bad. It was the surgeon's opinion that both of North- 
rup's feet were hopelessly frozen. 

The longboat was deep and heavy in the water, for it 
was burdened by the entire ship's company of twenty-one. 
Two of these were boys. Benny Hardwater was a bare 
thirteen, and Lish Dickery, whose family was near neigh- 
bor to mine in Elkton, was just turned sixteen. Our 
provisions consisted of three hundred-weight of beef and 



THE STAR ROVER 261 

two hundred-weight of pork. The half dozen loaves of 
brine-pulped bread, which the cook had brought, did not 
count. Then there were three small barrels of water and 
one small keg of beer. 

Captain jSTicholl frankly admitted that in this uncharted 
ocean he had no knowledge of any near land. The one 
thing to do was to run for more clement climate, which 
we accordingly did, setting our small sail and steering 
quartering before the fresh wind to the northeast. 

The food problem was simple arithmetic. We did not 
count Aaron iSTorthrup, for we knew he would soon be 
gone., At a pound per day, our five hundred pounds would 
last us twenty-five days; at half a pound, it would last 
fifty. So half a pound had it. I divided and issued the 
meat under the captain's eyes, and managed it fairly 
enough, God knows, although some of the men grumbled 
from the first. Also, from time to time I made fair divi- 
sion among the men of the plug tobacco I had stowed in 
my many pockets — a thing Avhich I could not but regret, 
especially when I knew it was being wasted on this man 
and that who I was certain could not live a day more, or, 
at best, two days or three. 

For we began to die soon in the open boat. Not to 
starvation but to the killing cold and exposure were those 
earlier deaths due. It was a matter of the survival of the 
toughest and the luckiest. I was tough by constitution, 
and lucky inasmuch as I was warmly clad and had not 
broken my leg like Aaron Northrup. Even so, so strong 
was he that, despite being the first to be severely frozen, 
he was days in passing. Vance Hathaway was the first. 
We found him in the gray of dawn, crouched doubled in 
the bow and frozen stiff. The boy, Lish Dickery, was the 
second to go. The other boy, Benny Hardwater, lasted 
ten or a dozen days. 

So bitter was it in the boat that our water and beer 



262 THE STAE EOVER 

froze solid, and it was a difficult task justly to apportion 
the pieces I broke off witli Northrup's claspknife. These 
' pieces we put in our mouths and sucked till they melted. 
Also, on occasion of snow-squalls, we had all the snow we 
desired. All of which was not good for us, causing a fever 
of inflammation to attack our mouths so that the mem- 
branes were continually dry and burning. And there was 
no allaying a thirst so generated. To suck more ice or 
snow was merely to aggravate the inflammation. More 
than anything else, I think it was this that caused the 
death of Lish Dickery. He was out of his head and raving 
for twenty-four hours before he died. He died babbling 
for water, and yet he did not die for need of water. I 
resisted as much as possible the temptation to suck ice, 
contenting myself with a shred of tobacco in my cheek, 
and made out with fair comfort. 

We stripped all clothing from our dead. Stark they 
came into the world and stark they passed out over the 
side of the longboat and down into the dark, freezing 
ocean. Lots were cast for the clothes. This was by Cap- 
tain JSTicholl's command, in order to prevent quarreling. 

It was no time for the follies of sentiment. There was 
not one of us who did not know secret satisfaction at the 
occurrence of each death. Luckiest of all was Israel] 
Stickney in casting lots, so that in the end, when he passed, 
he was a veritable treasure trove of clothing. It gave a 
new lease of life to the survivors. 

We continued to run to the northeast before the fresh 
westerlies, but our quest for warmer weather seemed vain. 
Ever the spray froze in the bottom of the boat, and I still 
chipped beer and drinking water with Northrup's knife. 
My own knife I reserved. It was of good steel, with a 
keen edge and stoutly fashioned, and I did not care to 
peril it in such manner. By the time haK our company 
was overboard, the boat had a reasonably high freeboard 



THE STAE ROVER 263 

and was less ticklish to handle in the gusts. Likewise 
there was more room for a man to stretch out comfortablj. 

A source of continual grumbling was the food. The 
captain, the mate, the surgeon, and myself, talking it over, 
resolved not to increase the daily whack of half a pound 
of meat. The six sailors, for whom Tobias Snow made 
himself spokesman, contended that the death of half of 
us was equivalent to a doubling of our provisioning and 
that therefore the ration should be increased to a pound. 
In reply, we of the afterguard pointed out that it was our 
chance for life that was doubled did we but bear with the 
half-pound ration. 

It is true that eight ounces of salt meat did not go far 
in enabling us to live and to resist the severe cold. We 
were quite weak, and, because of our weakness, we frosted 
easily. Noses and cheeks were all black with frost-bite. 
It was impossible to be warm, although we now had double 
the garments we had started with. 

Five weeks after the loss of the Negociaior the trouble 
over the food came to a head. I was asleep at the time — 
it was night — when Captain IS^icholl caught Jud Hetch- 
kins stealing from the pork barrel. That he was abetted 
by the other five men was proved by their actions. Im- 
mediately Jud Hetchkins was discovered, the whole six 
threw themselves upon us with their knives. It was close, 
sharp work in the dim light of the stars, and it was a 
mercy the boat was not overturned. I had reason to be 
thankful for my many shirts and coats which served me as 
an armor. The knife-thrusts scarcely more than drew 
blood through the so great thickness of cloth, although I 
[was scratched to bleeding in a round dozen of places. 
1 The others were similarly protected, and the fight would 
Have ended in no more than a mauling all around, had 
not the mate, Walter Dakon, a very powerful man, hit 
jipon the idea of ending the matter by tossing the mu- 



264 THE STAE EOVEK 

tineers overboard. This was joined in by Captain 
JSTicholl, the surgeon and myself, and in a trice five of the 
six were in the water and clinging to the gunwale. Cap- 
tain Nicholl and the surgeon were busy amidships with 
the sixth, Jeremy Nalor, and were in the act of throwing 
him overboard, while the mate was occupied with rapping 
the fingers along the gunwale with a boat-stretcher. For 
the moment I had nothing to do, and, so, was able to ob- 
serve the tragic end of the mate. As he lifted the 
stretcher to rap Seth Richards' fingers, the latter, sinking 
down low in the water and then jerking himself up by 
both hands, sprang half into the boat, locked his arms 
about the mate, and, falling backward and outboard, 
dragged the mate with him. Doubtlessly he never relaxed 
his grip, and both drowned together. 

Thus, left alive of the entire ship's company were three 
of us : Captain Nicholl, Arnold Bentham, the surgeon, and 
myself. Seven had gone in the twinkling of an eye, con- 
sequent on Jud Hetchkins' attempt to steal provisions. 
And to me it seemed a pity that so much good warm 
clothing had been wasted there in the sea. There was not 
one of us who could not have managed gratefully with 
more. 

Captain Nicholl and the surgeon were good men and 
honest. Often enough, when two of us slept, the one 
awake and steering could have stolen from the meat. But 
this never happened. We trusted one another fully, and 
we would have died rather than betray that trust. 

We continued to content ourselves with half a pound of 
meat each per day, and we took advantage of every favor- 
ing breeze to work to the north'ard. ISTot until January 
fourteenth, seven weeks since the wreck, did we come up 
with a warmer latitude. Even then it was not really 
warm. It was merely not so bitterly cold. 

Here the fresh westerlies forsook us and we bobbed and 



THE STAR EOVER 265 

blobbed about in doldrummy Tveatber for many days. 
Mostly it was calm, or light contrary winds, though some- 
times a burst of breeze, as like as not from dead ahead, 
would last for a few hours. In our weakened condition, 
with so large a boat, it was out of the question to row. 
We could merely hoard our food and wait for God to show 
a more kindly face. The three of us were faithful Chris- 
tians, and we made a practice of prayer each day before 
the apportionment of food. Yes, and each of us prayed 
privately often and long. 

By the end of January our food was near its end. 
The pork was entirely gone, and we used the barrel for 
catching and storing rainwater. Not many pounds of 
beef remained. And in all the nine weeks in the open 
boat we had raised no sail and glimpsed no land. Cap- 
tain Xicholl frankly admitted that after sixty-three days 
of dead reckoning he did not know where we were. 

The twentieth of February saw the last morsel of food 
eaten. I prefer to skip the details of much that happened 
in the next eight days. I shall touch only on the incidents 
that serve to show what manner of men were my compan- 
ions. We had starved so long, that we had no reserves 
of strength on which to draw when the food utterly ceased, 
and we grew weaker Avith great rapidity. 

On February twenty-fourth we calmly talked the situa- 
tion over. We were three stout-spirited men, full of life 
and toughness, and we did not want to die. No one of us 
would volunteer to sacrifice himself for the other two. 
But we agreed on three things: we must have food; we 
must decide the matter by casting lots; and we would 
cast the lots next morning if there were no wind. 

Next morning there was wind, not much of it, but fair, 
so that we were able to log a sluggish two knots on our 
northerly course. The mornings of the twenty-sixth and 
twenty-seventh found us with a similar breeze. We were 



266 THE STAK EOVER 

fearfully weak, but we abided by our decision and con- 
tinued to sail. 

But with the morning of the twenty-eighth we knew the 
time was come. The longboat rolled drearily on an 
empty, windless sea, and the stagnant, overcast sky gave 
no promise of any breeze. I cut three pieces of cloth, all 
of a size, from my jacket. In the ravel of one of these 
pieces was a bit of brown thread. Whoever drew this 
lost. I then put the three lots into my hat, covering it 
with Captain NichoU's hat. 

All was ready, but we delayed for a time while eacli 
prayed silently and long, for we knew that we were leav- 
ing the decision to God. I was not unaware of my own 
honesty and worth; but I was equally aware of the hon- 
esty and worth of my companions, so that it perplexed me 
how God could decide so fine-balanced and delicate a mat- 
ter. 

The captain, as was his right and due, drew first. After 
his hand was in the hat he delayed for some time with 
closed eyes, his lips moving a last prayer. And he drew 
a blank. This was right — a true decision I could not 
but admit to myself ; for Captain Nicholl's life was largely 
known to me and I knew him to be honest, upright, and 
God-fearing. 

Remained the surgeon and me. It was one or the other, 
and, according to ship's rating, it was his due to draw next. 
Again we prayed. As I prayed I strove to quest back in 
my life and cast a hurried tally-sheet of my own worth 
and unworth. 

I held the hat on my knees with Captain JiTicholFs hat 
over it. The surgeon thrust in his hand and fumbled 
about for some time, while I wondered whether the feel of 
that one brown thread could be detected from the rest of 
the ravel. 

At last he withdrew his hand. The brown thread was 



THE STAK KOVER 267 

in his piece of cloth. I was instantly very humble and 
very grateful for God's blessing thus extended to me ; and 
I resolved to keep more faithfully than ever all of His 
commandments. The next moment I could not help but 
feel that the surgeon and the captain were pledged to 
each other by closer ties of position and intercourse than 
with me, and that they were in a measure disappointed 
with the outcome. And close with that thought ran the 
conviction that they were such true men that the outcome 
would not interfere with the plan arranged. 

I was right. The surgeon bared arm and knife and 
prepared to open a great vein. Eirst, however, he spoke 
a few words. 

" I am a native of ISTorfolk, in the "Virginias," he said, 
" where I expect I have now a wife and three children liv- 
ing. The only favor that I have to request of you is, that 
should it please God to deliver either of you from your 
perilous situation, and should you be so fortunate as to 
reach once more your native country, that you would ac- 
quaint my unfortunate family with my wretched fate." 

ISText he requested courteously of us a few minutes in 
which to arrange his affairs with God. Neither Captain 
ISTicholl nor I could utter a word, but with streaming eyes 
we nodded our consent. 

Without doubt Arnold Bentham was the best collected 
of the three of us. My own anguish was prodigious, and 
I am confident that Captain K'icholl suffered equally. 
But what was one to do ? The thing was fair and proper 
and had been decided by God. 

But when Arnold Bentham had completed his last ar- 
rangements and made ready to do the act, I could con- 
tain myself no longer, and cried out : 

" Wait ! We who have endured so much surely can en- 
dure a little more. It is now mid-morning. Let us wait 
until twilight. Then, if no event has appeared to change 



268 THE STAE EOYER 

our dreadful destinj, do you, Arnold Bentham, do as we 
have agreed." 

He looked to Captain Nicholl for confirmation of my 
suggestion, and Captain Nicholl could only nod. He 
could utter no word, but in his moist and frosty blue eyes 
was a wealth of acknowledgment I could not misread. 

I did not, I could not, deem it a crime, having so de- 
termined by fair drawing of lots, that Captain NichoU and 
myself should profit by the death of Arnold Bentham. I 
could not believe that the love of life that actuated us had 
been implanted in our breasts by aught other than God. 
It was God's will, and we, His poor creatures, could only 
obey and fulfil His will. And yet, God was kind. In 
His all-kindness He saved us from so terrible, though so 
righteous, an act. 

Scarce had a quarter of an hour passed, when a fan of 
air from the west, with a hint of frost and damp in it, 
crisped on our cheeks. In another five minutes we had 
steerage from the filled sail, and Arnold Bentham was at 
the steering sweep. 

" Save what little strength you have," he said. " Let 
me consume the little strength left in me in order that it 
may increase your chance to survive." 

And so he steered to a freshening breeze, while Captain 
!N"icholl and I lay sprawled in the boat's bottom and in our 
weakness dreamed dreams and glimpsed visions of the 
dear things of life far across the world from us. 

It was an ever freshening breeze of wind that soon be- 
gan to puff and gust. The cloud stuff flying across the sky 
foretold us of a gale. By midday Arnold Bentham 
fainted at the steering, and, ere the boat could broach in 
the tidy sea already running, Captain XichoU and I were 
at the steering sweep with all the four of our weak hands 
upon it. We came to an agreement, and, just as Captain 
Nicholl had drawn the first lot by virtue of his oflBce, so 



THE STAR EOVER 269 

now he took the first spell at steering. Thereafter the 
three of us spelled one another every fifteen minutes. We 
were very weak, and we could not spell longer at a time. 

By mid-afternoon a dangerous sea was running. We 
should have rounded the boat to, had our situation not 
been so desperate, and let her drift bow-on to a sea-anchor 
extemporized of our mast and sail. Had we broached in 
those great, overtopping seas, the boat would have been 
rolled over and over. 

Time and again, that afternoon, Arnold Bentham, for 
our sakes, begged that we come to. a sea-anchor. He 
knew that we continued to run only in the hope that the 
decree of the lots might not have to be carried out. He 
was a noble man. So was Captain Nicholl noble, whose 
frosty eyes had wizened to points of steel. And in such 
noble company how could I be less noble? I thanked 
God repeatedly, through that long afternoon of peril, for 
the privilege of having known two such men. God and 
the right dwelt in them, and no matter what my poor fate 
might be, I could but feel well recompensed by such com- 
panionship. Like them, I did not want to die, yet was un- 
afraid to die. The quick, early doubt I had had of these 
two men was long since dissipated. Hard the school, and 
hard the men, but they were noble men, God's own 
men. 

I saw it first. Arnold Bentham, his own death ac- 
cepted, and Captain Nicholl, well nigh accepting death, 
lay rolling like loose-bodied dead men in the boat's bot- 
tom, and I was steering, when I saw it. The boat, foam- 
ing and surging with the swiftness of wind in its sail, was 
uplifted on a crest, when, close before me, I saw the sea- 
battered islet of rock. It was not half a mile off. I cried 
cut, so that the other two, kneeling and reeling and clutch- 
ing for support, were peering and staring at what I saw. 

" Straight for it, Daniel," Captain Nicholl mumbled 



270 THE STAR ROVER 

command. " There may be a cove. There may be a 
cove. It is our only chance." 

Once again he spoke, when we were atop that dreadful 
lee shore with no cove existent. 

" Straight for it, Daniel. If we go clear we are too 
weak ever to win back against sea and wind." 

He was right. I obeyed. He drew his watch and 
looked, and I asked the time. It was five o'clock. He 
stretched out his hand to Arnold Bentham, who met and 
shook it weakly; and both gazed at me, in their eyes ex- 
tending that same hand-clasp. It was farewell, I knew; 
for what chance had creatures so feeble as we to win alive 
over those surf -battered rocks to the higher rocks beyond ? 

Twenty feet from shore the boat was snatched out of my 
control. In a trice it was overturned and I was strangling 
in the salt. I never saw my companions again. By good 
fortune I was buoyed by the steering oar I still grasped, 
and by great good fortune a fling of sea, at the right instant, 
at the right spot, threw me far up the gentle slope of the 
one shelving rock on all that terrible shore. I was not 
hurt. I was not bruised. And with brain reeling from 
weakness I was able to crawl and scramble farther up be- 
yond the clutching backwash of the sea. 

I stood upright, knowing myself saved, and thanking 
God, and staggering as I stood. Already the boat was 
pounded to a thousand fragments. And though I saw 
them not, I could guess how grievously had been pounded 
the bodies of Captain ISI'icholl and Arnold Bentham. I 
saw an oar on the edge of the foam, and at certain risk I 
drew it clear. Then I fell to my knees, knowing myself 
fainting. And yet, ere I fainted, with a sailor's instinct 
I dragged my body on and up among the cruel hurting 
rocks to faint finally beyond the reach of the sea. 

I was near a dead man myself, that night, mostly in 
stupor, only dimly aware at times of the extremity of 



THE STAR EOVER 271 

cold and wet that I endured. Morning brought me as- 
tonishment and terror. No plant, not a blade of grass, 
grew on that wretched projection of rock from the ocean's 
bottom. A quarter of a mile in width and a half mile in 
length, it was no more than a heap of rocks. ]S[aught 
could I discover to gratify the cravings of exhausted na- 
ture. I was consumed with thirst, yet was there no fresh / 
water. In vain I tasted to my mouth's undoing every 
cavity and depression in the rocks. The spray of the 
gale so completely had enveloped every portion of the 
island that every depression was filled with water salt as 
the sea. 

Of the boat remained nothing — not even a splinter to 
show that a boat had been. I stood possessed of my gar- 
ments, a stout knife, and the one oar I had saved. The 
gale had abated, and all that day, staggering and falling, 
crawling till hands and knees bled, I vainly sought water. 

That night, nearer death than ever, I sheltered behind 
a rock from the wind. A heavy shower of rain made me 
miserable. I removed my various coats and spread them 
to soak up the rain ; but, when I came to wring the mois- 
ture from them into my mouth, I was disappointed, be- 
cause the cloth had been thoroughly impregnated with the 
salt of the ocean in which I had been immersed. I lay 
on my back, my mouth open to catch the few rain drops 
that fell directly into it. It was tantalizing, but it kept 
my membranes moist and me from madness. 

The second day I was a very sick man. I, who had not 
eaten for so long, began to swell to a monstrous fatness — 
my legs, my arms, my whole body. With the slightest of 
pressures my fingers would sink in a full inch into my 
skin, and the depressions so made were long in going 
away. Yet did I labor sore in order to fulfil God's will 
that I should live. Carefully, with my hands, I cleaned 
out the salt water from every slight hole, in the hope that 



272 THE STAE EOVER 

succeeding showers of rain might fill them with water that 
I could drink. 

^ My sad lot and the memories of the loved ones at Elk- 

'•ton threw me into a melancholy, so that I often lost my 

recollection for hours at a time. This was a mercy, for 

it veiled me from my sufferings that else would have killed 

me. 

In the night I was roused by the beat of rain, and I 
crawled from hole to hole, lapping up the rain or licking 
it from the rocks. Brackish it was, but drinkable. It 
was what saved me, for, toward morning, I awoke to find 
myself in a profuse perspiration and quite free of all 
delirium. 

Then came the sun, the first time since my stay on the 
island, and I spread most of my garments to dry. Of 
water I drank my careful fill, and I calculated there was 
ten days' supply if carefully husbanded. It was amazing, 
how rich I felt with this vast wealth of brackish water. 
And no great merchant, with all his ships returned from 
prosperous voyages, his warehouses filled to the rafters, his 
strong-boxes overflowing, could have felt as wealthy as 
did I when I discovered, cast up on the rocks, the body 
of a seal that had been dead for many days. Nor did I 
fail, first, to thank God on my knees for this manifesta- 
tion of His ever unfailing kindness. The thing was clear 
to me: God had not intended I should die. From the 
very first He had not so intended. 

I knew the debilitated state of my stomach, and I ate 
sparingly in the knowledge that my natural voracity would 
surely kill me did I yield myself to it. Never had sweeter 
morsels passed my lips, and I make free to confess that I 
shed tears of joy, again and again, at contemplation of 
that putrefied carcass. 

My heart of hope beat strong in me once more. Care- 
fully I preserved the portions of the carcass remaining. 



THE STAR EOVER 273 

Carefully I covered my rock cisterns with flat stones so 
that the sun's rays might not evaporate the precious fluid 
and in precaution against some upspringing of wind in 
the night and the sudden flying of spray. Also I gathered 
me tiny fragments of seaweed and dried them in the sun 
for an easement between my poor body and the rough 
rocks whereon I made my lodging. And my garments 
w'ere dry — the first time in days; so that I slept the 
heavy sleep of exhaustion and of returning health. 

When I awoke to a new day I was another man. The 
absence of the sun did not depress me, and I was swiftly 
to learn that God, not forgetting me while I slumbered, 
had prepared other and wonderful blessings for me. I 
would have fain rubbed my eyes and looked again, for, 
as far as I could see, the rocks bordering upon the ocean 
were covered with seals. There were thousands of them, 
and in the water other thousands disported themselves, 
while the sound that went up from all their throats was 
prodigious and deafening. I knew it when I saw it — 
meat lay there for the taking, meat sufficient for a score 
of ships' companies. 

I directly seized my oar — than which there was no 
other stick of wood on the island — and cautiously ad- 
vanced upon all that immensity of provender. It was 
quickly guessed by me that these creatures of the sea were 
unacquainted with man. They betrayed no signals of 
timidity at my approach, and I found it a boy's task to 
rap them on the head with the oar. 

And when I had so killed my third and my fourth, I 
went immediately and strangely mad. Indeed, quite be- 
reft was I of all judgment as I slew and slew and continued 
to slay. For the space of two hours I toiled unceasingly 
with the oar till I was ready to drop. What excess of 
slaughter I might have been guilty of I know not, for, at 
the end of that time, as if by a signal, all the seals that 



274 THE STAE EOVER 

still lived threw themselves into the water and swiftly dis- 
appeared. 

I found the number of slain seals to exceed two hun- 
dred, and I was shocked and frightened because of the 
madness of slaughter that had possessed me. I had sinned 
by wanton wastefulness, and, after I had duly refreshed 
myself with this good wholesome food, I set about as well 
as I could to make amends. But first, ere the great task 
began, I returned thanks to that Being through whose 
mercy I had been so miraculously preserved. Thereupon. 
I labored until dark, and after dark, skinning the seals, 
cutting the meat into strips, and placing it upon the tops 
of rocks to dry in the sun. Also, I found small deposits 
of salt in the nooks and crannies of the rocks on the 
weather side of the island. This I rubbed into the meat 
as a preservative. 

Four days I so toiled, and in the end was foolishly proud 
before God in that no scrap of all that supply of meat 
had been wasted. The unremitting labor was good for 
my body, which built up rapidly what of this wholesome 
diet in which I did not stint myself. Another evidence 
of God's mercy : never, in the eight years I spent on that 
barren islet, was there so long a spell of clear weather and 
steady sunshine as in the period immediately following 
the slaughter of the seals. 

Months were to pass ere ever the seals revisited my 
island. But in the meantime I was anything but idle. I 
built me a hut of stone, and, adjoining it, a storehouse 
for my cured meat. The hut I roofed with many seal- 
skins, so that it was fairly waterproof. But I could never 
cease to marvel, when the rain beat on that roof, that no 
less than a king's ransom in the London fur market pro- 
tected a castaway sailor from the elements. 

I was quickly aware of the importance of keeping some 
kind of reckoning of time, without which I was sensible 



THE STAE ROVER 2Y5 

that I should soon lose all knowledge of tlie day of the 
week, and be unable to distinguish one from the other, 
and not know which was the Lord's day. 

I remembered back carefully to the reckoning of time 
kept in the longboat by Captain ISTichoU; and carefully, 
again and again, to make sure beyond any shadow of un- 
certainty, I went over the tale of the days and nights I 
had spent on the island. Then, by seven stones outside my 
hut, I kept my weekly calendar. In one place on the oar 
I cut a small notch for each week, and in another place 
on the oar I notched the months, being duly careful, in- 
deed, to reckon in the additional days to each month over 
and beyond the four weeks. 

Thus I was enabled to pay due regard to the Sabbath. | 
As the only mode of worship I could adopt, I carved a 
short hymn, appropriate to my situation, on the oar, which 
I never failed to chant on the Sabbath. God, in his all- "^ 
mercy, had not forgotten me; nor did I, in those eight 
years, fail at all proper times to remember God. 

It was astonishing, the work required under such cir- 
cumstances, to supply one's simple needs of food and shel- 
ter. Indeed, I was rarely idle, that first year. The hut, it- 
self a mere lair of rocks, nevertheless took six weeks of my 
time. The tardy curing and the endless scraping of the 
sealskins so as to make them soft and pliable for gar- 
ments, occupied my spare moments for months and months. 

Then there was the matter of my water supply. After 
any heavy gale, the flying spray salted my saved rain- 
water, so that at times I was grievously put to live through 
till fresh rains fell unaccompanied by high winds. Aware 
that a continual dropping will wear a stone, I selected a 
large stone, fine and tight of texture, and, by means of 
smaller stones, I proceeded to pound it hollow. In five 
weeks of most arduous toil I managed thus to make a jar 
which I estimated to hold a gallon and a half. Later, I 



276 THE STAE EOVER 

similarly made a four-gallon jar. It took me nine weeks. 
Other small ones I also made from time to time. One, 
that would have contained eight gallons, developed a flaw 
when I had worked seven weeks on it. 

But it was not until my fourth year on the island, when 
I had become reconciled to the possibility that I might 
continue to live there for the term of my natural life, that 
I created my masterpiece. It took me eight months, but 
it was tight, and it held upwards of thirty gallons. These 
stone vessels were a great gratification to me — so much 
so, that at times I forgot my humility and was unduly 
vain of them. Truly, they were more elegant to me than 
was ever the costliest piece of furniture to any queen. 
Also, I made me a small rock vessel, containing no more 
than a quart, with which to convey water from the catch- 
ing places to my large receptacles. When I say that this 
one-quart vessel weighed all of two stone, the reader will 
realize that the mere gathering of the rainwater was no 
light task. 

Thus, I rendered my lonely situation as comfortable as 
could be expected. I had completed me a snug and secure 
shelter ; and, as to provision, I had always on hand a six 
months' supply, preserved by salting and drying. For 
these things, so essential to preserve life and which one 
could scarcely have expected to obtain upon a desert island, 
I was sensible that I could not be too thankful. 

Although denied the privilege of enjoying the society 
of any human creature, not even of a dog or a cat, I was 
far more reconciled to my lot than thousands probably 
would have been. Upon the desolate spot, where fate had 
placed me, I conceived myself far more happy than many, 
who, for ignominious crimes, were doomed to drag out 
their lives in solitary confinement with conscience ever 
biting like a corrosive canker. 

However dreary my prospects, I was not without hope 



THE STAK EOYER 277 

that that Providence, which, at the very moment when, 
hunger threatened me with dissolution, and when I might 
easily have been engulfed in the maw of the sea, had cast 
me upon those barren rocks, would finally direct some one 
to my relief. 

If deprived of the society of my fellow creatures, and 
of the conveniences of life, I could not but reflect that my 
forlorn situation was yet attended with some advantages. 
Of the whole island, though small, I had peaceable posses- 
sion. No one, it was probable, would ever appear to dis- 
pute my claim, unless it were the amphibious animals of 
the ocean. Since the island was almost inaccessible, at 
night my repose w^as not disturbed by continual appre- 
hension of the approach of cannibals or of beasts of prey. 
Again and again I thanked God on my knees for these vari- 
ous and many benefactions. 

Yet is man ever a strange and unaccountable creature. 
I, who had asked of God's mercy no more than putrid meat 
to eat and a sufficiency of water not too brackish, was no 
sooner blessed with an abundance of cured meat and sweet 
•water than I began to know discontent with my lot. I 
began to want fire, and the savor of cooked meat in my 
mouth. And continually I would discover myself longing 
for certain delicacies of the palate such as were part of the 
common daily fare on the home table at Elkton. Strive 
as I would, ever my fancy eluded my will and wantoned 
in day-dreaming of the good things I had eaten and of the 
good things I would eat if ever I were rescued from my 
lonely situation. 

It was the old Adam in me, I suppose — the taint of 
that first father who was the first rebel against God's com- : 
mandments. Most strange is man, ever insatiable, ever \ 
unsatisfied, never at peace with God or himself, his days 1 
filled with restlessness and useless endeavor, his nights a ! 
glut of vain dreams of desires wilful and wrong. Yes, J 



278 THE STAK EOVER 

and also I was mucli annoyed by my craving for tobacco. 
My sleep was often a torment to me, for it was then that 
my desires took license to rove, so that a thousand times 
I dreamed myself possessed of hogsheads of tobacco — ay, 
and of warehouses of tobacco, and of shiploads and of en- 
tire plantations of tobacco. 

But I revenged myself upon myself. I prayed God 
unceasingly for a humble heart, and chastised my flesh 
with unremitting toil. Unable to improve my mind, I 
determined to improve my barren island. I labored four 
months at constructing a stone wall thirty feet long, in- 
cluding its wings, and a dozen feet high. This was as a 
protection to the hut in the periods of the great gales when 
all the island was as a tiny petrel in the maw of the 
hurricane. Nor did I conceive the time misspent. 
Thereafter I lay snug in the heart of calm while all the air 
for a hundred feet above my head was one stream of gust- 
driven water. 

In the third year I began me a pillar of rock. Eather 
was it a pyramid, four square, broad at the base, sloping 
upward not steeply to the apex. In this fashion I was 
compelled to build, for gear and timber there was none in 
all the island for the construction of scaffolding. Not 
until the close of the fifth year was my pyramid complete. 
It stood on the summit of the island. Now, when I state 
that the summit was but forty feet above the sea, and 
that the peak of my pyramid was forty feet above the sum- 
mit, it will be conceived that I, without tools, had doubled 
the stature of the island. It might be urged by some un- 
thinking ones that I interfered with God's plan in the crea- 
tion of the world. Not so, I hold. For was not I equally 
a part of God's plan, along with this heap of rocks up- 
jutting in the solitude of ocean ? My arms with which to 
Avork, my back with which to bend and lift, my hands 
cunning to clutch and hold — were not these parts too in 



THE STAR ROVER 279. 

God's plan ? MucH I pondered the matter. I know that 
I was right. 

In the sixth year I increased the base of my pyramid, so 
that in eighteen months thereafter the height of my monu- 
ment was fifty feet above the height. of the island. This 
was no tower of Babel. It served two right purposes. It 
gave me a lookout from which to scan the ocean for ships 
and increased the likelihood of my island being sighted 
by the careless roving eye of any seaman. And it kept mj? 
body and mind in health. With hands never idle, therq 
was small opportunity for Satan on that island. Onlj^ • 
in my dreams did he torment me, principally with visions 
of varied foods and with imagined indulgences in the foul 
weed called tobacco. 

On the eighteenth day of the month of June, in the sixth 
year of my sojourn on the island, I described a sail. But 
it passed far to leeward at too great a distance to dis- 
cover me. Rather than suffering disappointment, the very 
appearance of this sail afforded me the liveliest satisfac- 
tion. It convinced me of a fact that I had before in a 
degree doubted, to wit: that these seas were sometimes 
visited by navigators. 

Among other things, where the seals hauled up out of 
the sea, I built wide-spreading wings of low rock walls 
that narrowed to a cul de sac, where I might conveniently 
kill such seals as entered without exciting their fellows 
outside and without permitting any wounded or fright- 
ening seal to escape and spread a contagion of alarm. 
Seven months to this structure alone were devoted. 

As the time passed, I grew more contented witH my 
lot, and the devil came less and less in my sleep to tor- 
ment the old Adam in me with lawless visions of tobacco 
and savory foods. And I continued to eat my seal meat 
and call it good, and to drink the sweet rainwater of which 
always I had a plenty, and to be grateful to God. And 



280 THE STAK EOYER 

God heard me, I know, for during all my term on that 
island I knew never a moment of sickness, save two, both 
of which were due to my gluttony, as I shall later re- 
late. 

In the fifth year, ere I had convinced myself that the 
keels of ships did on occasion plow these seas, I began carv- 
ing on my oar minutes of the more remarkable incidents 
that had attended me since I quitted the peaceful shores 
of America. This I rendered as intelligible and perma- 
nent as possible, the letters being of the smallest size. Six, 
and even five, letters were often a day's work for me, so 
painstaking was I. 

And, lest it should prove my hard fortune never to meet 
with the long-wished opportunity to return to my friends 
and to my family at Elkton, I engraved, or nitched, on 
the broad end of the oar, the legend of my ill fate which 
I have already quoted near the beginning of this narra- 
tive. 

This oar, which had proved so serviceable to me in my 
destitute situation, and which now contained a record of 
my own fate and of that of my shipmates, I spared no 
pains to preserve. No longer did I risk it in knocking 
seals on the head. Instead, I equipped myself with a 
stone club, some three feet in length and of suitable 
diameter, which occupied an even month in the fashion- 
ing. Also, to secure the oar from the weather (for I 
used it in mild breezes as a flagstaff on top of my pyramid 
from which to fly a flag I made me from one of my pre- 
cious shirts) I contrived for it a covering of well-cured seal- 
skins. 

In the month of March of the sixth year of my confine- 
ment, I experienced one of the most tremendous storms 
that was perhaps ever witnessed by man. It commenced 
at about nine in the evening, with the approach of black 
clouds and a freshening wind from the southwest, which, 



THE STAR EOVER 281 

by eleven, had become a hurricane, attended with incessant 
peals of thunder and the sharpest lightning I had ever 
witnessed. 

I was not without apprehension for the safety of the 
island. Over every part, the seas made a clean breach, 
except of the summit of my pyramid. There, the life 
was nigh beaten and suffocated out of my body by the drive 
of the wind and spray. I could not but be sensible that 
my existence was spared solely because of my diligence in 
erecting the pyramid and so doubling the stature of the 
island. 

Yet, in the morning, I had great reason for thankful- 
ness. All my saved rainwater was turned brackish, save 
that in my largest vessel which was sheltered in the lee of 
the pyramid. By careful economy I knew I had drink 
sufficient until the next rain, no matter how delayed, 
should fall. My hut was quite washed out by the seas, 
and of my great store of seal meat only a wretched, pulpy 
modicum remained. ISTevertheless I was agreeably sur- 
prised to find the rocks plentifully distributed with a sort 
of fish more nearly like the mullet than any I had ever 
observed. Of these I picked up no less than twelve hun- 
dred and nineteen, which I split and cured in the sun 
after the manner of cod. This welcome change of diet 
was not without its consequence. I was guilty of glut- 
tony, and for all of the succeeding night I was near to 
death's door. 

In the seventh year of my stay on the island, in the 
very same month of March, occurred a similar storm oi 
great violence. Following upon it, to my astonishment, I 
found an enormous dead whale, quite fresh, which had 
been cast up high and dry by the waves. Conceive my 
gratification when in the bowels of the great fish I found 
deeply imbedded a harpoon of the common sort with a 
few fathoms of new line attached thereto. 



282 THE STAE EOVER 

Thus were mj hopes again revived that I should finally 
meet with an opportunity to quit the desolate island. 
Beyond doubt these seas were frequented by whalemen, 
and, so long as I kept up a stout heart, sooner or later I 
should be saved. For seven years I had lived on seal 
meat, so that at sight of the enormous plenitude of differ- 
ent and succulent food I fell a victim to my weakness and 
ate of such quantities that once again I was well nigh to 
dying. And yet, after all, this, and the affair of the small 
fish, were mere indispositions due to the foreignness of 
the food to my stomach, which had learned to prosper on 
seal meat and on nothing but seal meat. 

Of that one whale I preserved a full year's supply of 
provision. Also, under the sun's rays, in the rock hol- 
lows, I tried out much of the oil, which, with the addition 
of salt, was a welcome thing in which to dip my strips of 
seal-meat whilst dining. Out of my precious rags of 
shirts I could even have contrived a wick so that, with 
the harpoon for steel and rock for flint, I might have had 
a light at night. But it was a vain thing, and I speedily 
forewent the thought of it. I had no need for light when 
God's darkness descended, for I had schooled myself to 
sleep from sundown to sunrise, winter and summer. 

I, Darrell Standing, cannot refrain from breaking in on 
this recital of an earlier existence in order to note a 
conclusion of my own. Since human personality is a 
growth, a sum of all previous existences added together, 
what possibility was there for Warden Atherton to break 
down my spirit in the inquisition of solitary ? I am life 
that survived, a structure builded up through the ages of 
the past — and such a past ! What were ten days and 
nights in the jacket to me? — to me, who had once been. 
Daniel Foss and for eight years learned patience in that 
school of rocks in the far South Ocean ? 



THE STAR EOVER 283 

At the end of my eighth year on the island, in the 
month of September, when I had just sketched most ambi- 
tious plans to raise my pyramid to sixty feet above the 
summit of the island, I awoke one morning to stare out 
upon a ship with topsails aback and nearly within hail. 
That I might be discovered, I swung my oar in the air, 
jumped from rock to rock, and was guilty of all manner 
of livelinesses of action, until I could see the officers on 
the quarterdeck looking at me through their spyglasses. 
They answered by pointing to the extreme westerly end of 
the island, whither I hastened and discovered their boat 
manned by a half a dozen men. It seems, as I was to 
learn afterward, the ship had been attracted by my pyra- 
mid and had altered its course to make closer examination 
of so strange a structure that was greater of height than 
the wild island on which it stood. 

But the surf proved to be too great to permit the boat 
to land on my inhospitable shore. After divers unsuccess- 
ful attempts they signaled me that they must return to 
the ship. Conceive my despair at thus being unable to 
quit the desolate island. I seized my oar (which I had 
long since determined to present to the Philadelphia 
Museum if ever I were preserved) and with it plunged 
headlong into the foaming surf. Such was my good for- 
tune, and my strength and agility, that I gained the boat- 

I cannot refrain from telling here a curious incident. 
iThe ship had by this time drifted so far away, that we t 
were all of an hour in getting aboard. During this time 
I yielded to my propensities that had been baffled for 
eight long years, and begged of the second mate, who 
steered, a piece of tobacco to chew. This granted, the 
second mate also proffered me his pipe, filled with prime 
iVirginia leaf. Scarce had ten minutes passed when I was 
taken violently sick. The reason for this was clear. My 
system was entirely purged of tobacco, and what I now 



,284: THE STAR ROVER 

suffered was tobacco poisoning such as afflicts any boy at 
the time of his first smoke. Again I had reason to be 
grateful to God, and from that day to the day of my 
death, I neither used nor desired the foul weed. 

I, Darrell Standing, must now complete the amazing- 
ness of the details of this existence which I relived while 
unconscious in the straight] acket in San Quentin prison. 
I often wondered if Daniel Eoss had been true in his re- 
solve and deposited the carved oar in the Philadelphia 
[Museum. 

It is a difficult matter for a prisoner in solitary to com- 
municate with the outside world. Once, with a guard, 
and once with a short-timer in solitary, I entrusted, by 
memorization, a letter of inquiry addressed to the curator 
of the Museum. Although under the most solemn pledges, 
both these men failed me. It was not until after Ed 
Morrell, by a strange whirl of fate, was released from 
solitary and appointed head trusty of the entire prison, 
that I was able to have the letter sent. I now give the 
reply, sent me by the curator of the Philadelphia Museum, 
and smuggled to me by Ed Morrell : 

"It is true there is such an oar here as you have de- 
scribed. But few persons can know of it, for it is not on 
exhibition in the public rooms. In fact, and I have held 
this position for eighteen years, I was unaware of its 
existence myself. 

" But upon consulting our old records I found that such 
an oar had been presented by one, Daniel Eoss, of Elkton, 
Maryland, in the year 1821. ITot until after a long search 
did we find the oar in a disused attic lumber-room of odds 
and ends. The notches and the legend are carved on the 
oar just as you have described. 

" We have also on file a pamphlet, presented at the 
same time, written by the said Daniel Eoss, and published 



THE STAE EOVER 285 

in Boston by the firm of N. Coverly, Jr., in the year 1834. 
This pamphlet describes eight years of a castaway's life 
on a desert island. It is evident that this mariner, in hia 
old age and in want, hawked this pamphlet abaut among 
the charitable. 

" I am very curious to learn how you became aware of 
this oar, of the existence of which we of the museum were 
ignorant. Am I correct in assuming that you have read 
an account in some diary later published by this Daniel 
Eoss? I shall be glad for any information on the sub- 
ject, and am proceeding at once to have the oar and the 
pamphlet put back on exhibition. 

" Very truly yours, 

" Hosea Salsburty." * 

* Since the execution of Professor Darrell Standing, at which time 
the manuscript of his memoirs came into our hands, we have writ- 
ten to Mr. Hosea Salsburty, Curator of the Philadelphia Museimi, 
and, in reply, have received confirmation of the existence of the oar 
and the pamphlet. — The Editobs. 



CHAPTEK XX 

The time came wlien I humbled Warden Atherton to 
unconditional surrender, making a vain and empty moutli- 
ing of his ultimatum, " Dynamite or curtains." He gave 
me up as one who could not be killed in a straight] acket. 
He had had men die after several hours in the jacket. 
He had had men die after several days in the jacket, al- 
though, invariably, they were unlaced and carted into 
hospital ere they breathed their last . . . and received a 
death certificate from the doctor of pneumonia, or 
iBright's disease, or valvular disease of the heart. 

But me Warden Atherton could never kill. Never did 
the urgency arise of carting my maltreated and perish- 
ing carcass to the hospital. Yet I will say that Warden 
Atherton tried his best and dared his worst. There was 
the time when he double-jacketed me. It is so rich an in- 
cident that I must tell it. 

It happened that one of the San Francisco newspapers 
(seeking, as every newspaper and as every commercial 
enterprise seeks, a market that will enable it to realize a 
profit), tried to interest the radical portion of the working 
class in prison reform. As a result, union labor possessing 
an important political significance at the time, the time- 
serving politians at Sacramento appointed a senatorial 
committee of investigation of the state prisons. 

This State Senate committee investigated (pardon my 
italicized sneer) San Quentin. ^ISTever was there so model 
an institution of detention. The convicts themselves so 
testified. Nor can one blame them. They had experi- 
^ fenced similar investigations in the past. They knew 
-iwhich side their bread was buttered on. They knew that 

286 



THE STAE EOVER 2ST 

all their sides and most of their ribs would ache very 
quickly after the taking of their testimony ... if said 
testimony were adverse to the prison administration, i Oh, 
believe me, my reader, it is a very ancient story. It was 
ancient in old Babylon, many a thousand years ago, as 
I well remember of that old time when I rotted in prison 
while palace intrigues shook the court. i 

As I have said, every convict testified to the humane- 
ness of Warden Atherton's administration. In fact, so 
touching were their testimonials to the kindness of the 
warden, to the good and varied quality of the food and the 
cooking, to the gentleness of the guards, and to the general 
decency and ease and comfort of the prison domicile, that 
the opposition newspapers of San Francisco raised an in- 
dignant cry for more rigor in the management of our 
prisons, in that, otherwise, honest but lazy citizens would 
be seduced into seeking enrollment as prison guests. 

The Senate Committee even invaded solitary, where the 
three of us had little to lose and nothing to gain. Jake 
Oppenheimer spat in its faces and told its members, all 
and sundry, to go to hell. Ed Morrell told them what ai 
noisome stews the place was, insulted the warden to his 
face, and was recommended by the committee to be given 
a taste of the antiquated and obsolete punishments that 
after all must have been devised by previous wardens out 
of necessity for the right handling of hard characters like , 
him. i 

I was careful not to insult the warden. I testified 
craftily, and as a scientist, beginning with small begin- 
nings, making an art of my exposition, step by step, by 
tiny steps, inveigling my senatorial auditors on into will- 
ingness and eagerness to listen to the next exposure, the 
whole fabric so woven that there was no natural halting 
place at which to drop a period or interpolate a query 
. , . in this fashion, thus, I got my tale across. 



V 



288 THE STAR ROVER 

Alas ! no whisper of what I divulged ever went outside 
the prison walls. The Senate Committee gave a beautiful 
whitewash to Warden Atherton and San Quentin. The 
crusading San Francisco newspaper assured its working 
class readers that San Quentin was whiter than snow, and, 
further, that, while it was true that the straight] acket was 
still a recognized legal method of punishment for the re- 
fractory, that, nevertheless, at the present time, under the 
present humane and spiritually right-minded warden, 
the straight] acket was never, under any circumstance, 
used. 

And while the poor asses of laborers read and believed, 
while the Senate Committee dined and wined with the 
warden at the expense of the state and the tax payer, Ed 
iMorrell, Jake Oppenheimer, and I were lying in our 
jackets, laced just a trifle more tightly and more vin- 
dictively than we had ever been laced before. 

" It is to laugh," Ed Morrell tapped to me, with the 
edge of the sole of his shoe. 

" I should worry," tapped Jake. 

And as for me, I, too, tapped my bitter scorn and 
laughter, remembered the prison houses of old Babylon, 
smiled to myself a huge cosmic smile, and drifted off and 
away into the largess of the little death that made me heir 
of all the ages and the rider full-panoplied and astride of 
time. 

Yea, dear brother of the outside world, while the white- 
wash was running off the press, while the august senators 
were wining and dining, we three of the living dead, 
buried alive in solitary, were sweating our pain in the 
canvas torture. 

And after the dinner, warm with wine, Warden Ather- 
ton himself came to see how fared it with us. Me, as 
usual, they found in coma. Doctor Jackson for the first 
time must have been alarmed. I was brought back across 



THE STAR EOVER 289 

the dark to consciousness with the bite of ammonia in mj 
nostrils. I smiled into the faces bent over me. 

'' Shamming," snorted the warden, and I knew by the 
'flush on his face and the thickness in his tongue, that he 
had been drinking. 

I licked mj lips as a sign for water, for I desired to 
speak. 

" You are an ass," I at last managed to say with cold 
distinctness. " You are an ass, a coward, a cur, a pitiful 
thing so low that spittle would be wasted on your face. 
In such matter Jake Oppenheimer is over-generous with 
you. As for me, without shame I tell you the only rea- 
son I do not spit upon you is that I cannot demean my- 
self nor so degrade my spittle." 

" I've reached the limit of my patience ! " he bellowed. 
" I will kill you, Standing ! " 

" You've been drinking," I retorted. " And I would 
advise you, if you must say such things, not to take so 
many of your prison curs into your confidence. They 
will snitch on you some day, and you will lose your job." 

But the wine was up and master of him. 

"Put another jacket on him," he commanded. "You 
are a dead man, Standing. But you'll not die in the 
jacket. We'll bury you from the hospital." 

This time, over the previous jacket, the second jacket 
was put on from behind and laced up in front. 

" Lord, Lord, Warden, it is bitter weather," I sneered. 
" The frost is sharp. Wherefore I am indeed grateful for 
your giving me two jackets. I shall be almost comfort- 
able." 

" Tighter ! " he urged to Al Hutchins, who was drawing 
the lacing. " Throw your feet into the skunk. Break his 
ribs." 

I must admit that Hutchins did his best. 

" You will lie about me," the warden raved, the flusK 



290 THE STAK EOVER 

of wine and wrath flooding ruddier into his face. " Now 
see what you get for it Your number is taken at last, 
Standing. This is your finish. Do you hear? This is 
your finish." 

" A favor, Warden," I whispered faintly. Faint I 
was. Perforce I was nearly unconscious from the fearful 
constriction. " Make it a triple jacketing," I managed to 
continue, while the cell walls swayed and reeled about me 
and while I fought with all my will to hold to my con- 
sciousness that was being squeezed out of me by the jackets. 
^' Another jacket . . . Warden. . . . It . . . will . . . 
be . . . so . . . much . . . er . . . wanner." 

And my whisper faded away as I ebbed down into the 
little death. 

I was never the same man after that double-jacketing. 
Never again, to this day, no matter what my food, was I 
properly nurtured. I suffered internal injuries to an ex- 
tent I never cared to investigate. The old pain in my ribs 
and stomach is with me now as I write these lines. But 
the poor, maltreated machinery has served its purpose. It 
has enabled me to live thus far, and it will enable me to 
live the little longer to the day they take me out in the 
shirt without a collar and stretch my neck with the well- 
stretched rope. 

But the double-jacketing was the last straw. It broke 
down Warden Atherton. He surrendered to the demon- 
stration that I was unkillable. As I told him once : 

" The only way you can get me. Warden, is to sneak in 
here some night with a hatchet." 

Jake Oppenheimer was responsible for a good one on 
the warden, which I must relate: 

" I say, Warden, it must be straight hell for you to have 
to wake up every morning with yourself on your pillow." 

And Ed Morrell to the warden: 



THE STAR ROVER 291 

" Your mother must have been damn fond of children to 
have raised you." 

It was really an offense to me when the jacketing ceased. 
I sadly missed that dream world of mine. But not for 
long. I found that I could suspend animation by the ex- 
ercise of my will, aided mechanically by constricting my 
chest and abdomen with the blanket. Thus I induced 
physiological and psychological states similar to those 
caused by the jacket. So, at will, and without the old tor- 
ment, I was free to roam through time. 

Ed Morrell believed all my adventures, but Jake Op- 
penheimer remained skeptical to the last. It was during 
my third year in solitary that I paid Oppenheimer a visit. 
I was never able to do it but that once, and that one time 
was wholly unplanned and unexpected. 

It was merely after unconsciousness had come to me, 
that I found myself in his cell. My body, I knew, lay; 
in the jacket back in my own cell. Although never before 
had I seen him, I knew that this man was Jake Oppen- 
heimer. It was summer weather, and he lay without 
clothes on top his blanket. I was shocked by his cadaver- 
ous face and skeleton-like body. He was not even the 
shell of a man. He was merely the structure of a man, / 
the bones of a man, still cohering, stripped practically of 
all flesh and covered with a parchment-like skin. 

Not until back in my own cell and consciousness, was 
I able to mull the thing over and realize that just as was 
Jake Oppenheimer, so was Ed Morrell, so was I. And I 
I could not but thrill as I glimpsed the vastitude of spirit l 
that inhabited these frail, perishing carcasses of us — the ^^^ 
three incorrigibles of solitary. Flesh is a cheap, vain ' 
thing. Grass is flesh, and flesh becomes grass; but the 
spirit is the thing that abides and survives. I have no 
patience with these flesh-worshipers. A taste of solitary 



292 THE STAR ROVER 

in San Quentin would swiftly convert them to a due ap- 
preciation and worship of the spirit. 

But to return to my experience in Oppenheimer's cell. 
His body was that of a man long dead and shriveled by 
desert heat. The skin that covered it was of the color 
of dry mud. His sharp, yellow-gray eyes seemed the only 
part of him that was alive. They were never at rest. 
He lay on his back, and the eyes darted hither and thither, 
following the flight of the several flies that disported in 
the gloomy air above him. I noted, too, a scar just above 
his right elbow, and another scar on his right ankle. 

After a time he yawned, rolled over on his side, and in- 
spected an angry-looking sore just above his hip. This 
he proceeded to cleanse and dress by the crude methods 
men in solitary must employ. I recognized the sore as 
one of the sort caused by the straight jacket. On my body, 
at this moment of writing, are hundreds of scars of the 
jacket. 

Next, Oppenheimer rolled back on his back, gingerly 
took one of his front upper teeth — an eye-tooth — be- 
tween thumb and forefinger, and consideratively moved it 
back and forth. Again he yawned, stretched his arms, 
rolled over, and knocked the call to Ed Morrell. 

I read the code as a matter of course. 

" Thought you might be awake," Oppenheimer tapped. 
*' How goes it with the professor ? " 

Then, dim and far, I could hear Morrell's taps enunciat- 
ing that they had put me in the jacket an hour before, and 
that, as usual, I was already deaf to all knuckle talk. 

" He is a good guy," Oppenheimer rapped on. " I al- 
ways was suspicious of educated mugs, but he ain't been 
hurt none by his education. He is sure square. Got all 
the spunk in the world, and you could not get him to 
squeal or double cross in a million years." 

To all of which, and with amplification, Ed Morrell 



THE STAR KOVER 293 

agreed. And I must right here, ere I go a word further, 
say that I have lived many years and many lives, and 
that in those many lives I have known proud moments; 
but that the proudest moment I have ever known was 
the moment when my two comrades in solitary passed this 
appraisal of me. Ed Morrell and Jake Oppenheimer 
were great sj^irits, and in all time no greater honor was 
ever accorded me than this admission of me to their com- 
radeship. Kings have knighted me, emperors have en- 
nobled me, and, as king myself, I have known stately mo- 
ments. Yet of it all nothing do I adjudge so splendid as 
this accolade delivered by two lifers in solitary deemed by 
the world as the very bottom-most of the human cesspool. 

Afterwards, recuperating from this particular bout with 
the jacket, I brought up my visit to Jake's cell as a proof 
that my spirit did leave my body. But Jake was un- 
shakable. 

" It is guessing that is more than guessing," was his 
reply, when I had described to him his successive par- 
ticular actions at the time my spirit had been in his cell. 
"It is figuring. You have been close to three years in 
solitary yourself, Professor, and you can come pretty near 
to figuring what any guy will do to be killing time. There 
ain't a thing you told me that you and Ed ain't done thou- 
sands of times, from lying with your clothes oif in hot 
weather to watching flies, tending sores, and rapping." 

Morrell sided with me, but it was no use. 

" Now don't take it hard, Professor," Jake tapped. " I 
ain't saying you lied. I just say you get to dreaming and 
figuring in the jacket without knowing you're doing it. 
I know you believe what you say, and that you think it 
happened ; but it don't buy nothing with me. You figure 
it, but you don't know you figure it — that is something 
you know all the time, though you don't know you know it 
until you get into them dreamy, woozy states." 



294 THE STAE EOVEE 

" Hold on, Jake," I tapped. " You know I have never 
seen you with my own eyes. Is that right ? " 

" I got to take your word for it, Professor. You might 
have seen me and not known it was me." 

" The point is," I continued, " not having seen you, 
with your clothes off, nevertheless I am able to tell you 
about that scar above your right elbow, and that scar on 
your right ankle." 

" Oh, shucks," was his reply. " You'll find all that in 
my prison description and along with my mug in the 
rogue's gallery. They is thousands of chiefs of police and 
detectives know all that stuff." 

" I never heard of it," I assured him. 

" You don't remember that you ever heard of it," he 
corrected. " But you must have just the same. Though 
you have forgotten about it, the information is in your 
brain all right, stored away for reference, only you've for- 
got where it is stored. You've got to get woozy in order 
to remember. 

" Did you ever forget a man's name you used to know 
as well as your own brother's? I have. There was a 
little juror that convicted me in Oakland the time I got 
handed my fifty years. And one day I found I'd forgot- 
ten his name. Why, bo, I lay here for weeks puzzling 
for it. K'ow, just because I could not dig it out of my 
memory box was no sign it was not there. It was mis- 
laid, that was all. And to prove it, one day, when I was 
not even thinking about it, it popped right out of my brain 
to the tip of my tongue. ' Stacy,' I said right out loud. 
' Joseph Stacy.' That was it. Get my drive ? 

" You only tell me about them scars what thousands of 
men know. I don't know how you got the information, I 
guess you don't know yourself. That ain't my lookout. 
But there she is. Telling me what many knows buys 
nothing with me. You got to deliver a whole lot more 



THE STAE HOVER 295 

than that to make me swallow tEe rest of your whoppers." 
— Hamilton's Law of Parsimony in the weighing of evi- 
dence! So intrinsically was this slimi-bred convict a 
scientist, that he had worked out Hamilton's law and 
rigidly applied it. 

And yet — and the incident is delicious — Jake Op- 
Jpenheimer was intellectually honest. That night, as I 
was dozing off^ he called me with the customary signal. 

" Say, Professor, you said you saw me wiggling my 
loose tooth. That has got my goat. That is the one 
thing I can't figure out any way you could know. It only 
went loose three days ago, and I ain't whispered it to a 
soul." 



CHAPTEK XXI 

Pascax; somewhere says : " In viewing the march of 
human evolution, the philosophic mind should look upon 
humanity as one man, and not as a conglomeration of in- 
dividuals." 

I sit here in Murderers' Row in Folsom, the drowsy 
hum of flies in my ears as I ponder that thought of Pas- 
cal. It is true. Just as the human embryo, in its brief 
ten lunar months, with bewildering swiftness, in myriad 
forms and semblances a myriad times multiplied, re- 
hearses the entire history of organic life from vegetable to 
man; just as the human boy, in his brief years of boy- 
hood, rehearses the history of primitive man in acts of 
cruelty and savagery, from wantonness of inflicting pain 
on lesser creatures to tribal consciousness expressed by the 
desire to run in gangs ; just so, I, Darrell Standing, have 
rehearsed and relived all that primitive man was, and did, 
and became until he became even you and I and the rest 
of our kind in a twentieth century civilisation. 
j Truly do we carry in us, each human of us alive on the 
planet to-day, the incorruptible history of life from life's 
peginning. This history is written in our tissues and our 
bones, in our functions and our organs, in our brain cells 
,^nd in our spirits, and in all sorts of physical and psychic 
iatavistic urgencies and compulsions. Once we were fish- 
like, you and I, my reader, and crawled up out of the sea 
to pioneer in the great, dry-land adventure in the thick of 
which we are now. The marks of the sea are still on us, 
as the marks of the serpent are still on us, ere the serpent 

296 



iTHE STAR ROVER 297 

became serpent and we became we, when pre-serpent and 
pre-we were one. Once we flew in the air, and once we 
dwelt arboreally and were afraid of the dark. The ves- 
tiges remain, graven on you and me, and graven on our 
seed to come after us to the end of our time on earth. 

What Pascal glimpsed with the vision of a seer, I have 
lived. I have seen myself that one man contemplated by 
Pascal's philosophic eye. Oh, I have a tale, most true, 
most wonderful, most real to me, although I doubt that I 
have wit to tell it, and that you, my reader, have wit to 
perceive it when told. I say that I have seen myself that 
one man hinted at by Pascal. I have lain in the long 
trances of the jacket and glimpsed myself a thousand liv- 
ing men living the thousand lives that are themselves the 
history of the human man climbing upward through the 
ages. 

Ah, what royal memories are mine, as I flutter through 
the seons of the long ago. In single jacket trances I have 
lived the many lives involved in the thousand-years-long 
odysseys of the early drifts of men. Heavens, before I 
was of the flaxen-haired ^sir, who dwelt in Asgard, and 
before I was of the red-haired Vanir, who dwelt in Vana- 
heim, long before those times I have memories (living 
memories) of earlier drifts, when, like thistledown before 
the breeze, we drifted south before the face of the descend- 
^ing polar ice-cap. 

I have died of frost and famine, fight and flood. I have 
picked berries on the bleak backbone of the world, and I 
have dug roots to eat from fat-soiled fens and meadows. 
I have scratched the reindeer's semblance and the sem- 
blance of the hairy mammoth on ivory tusks gotten of the 
chase and on the rock walls of cave shelters when the win- 
ter storms moaned outside. I have cracked marrow- 
bones on the sites of kingly cities that had perished cen- 
turies before my time or that were destined to be builded 



298 THE STAR HOVER 

centuries after my passing. And I tave left tKe tones 
of my transient carcasses in pond bottoms, and glacial 
gravels, and asphaltum lakes. 

I have lived through the ages known to-day among the 
scientists as the Paleolithic, the I^eolithic, and the Bronze. 
I remember when with our domesticated wolves we herded 
our reindeer to pasture on the north shores of the Medi- 
terranean where now are France and Italy and Spain. 
This was before the ice-sheet melted backward toward the 
pole. Many processions of the equinoxes have I lived 
through and died in, my reader . . . only that I remem- 
ber and that you do not. 

I have been a Son of the Plough, a Son of the Fish, ai 
Son of the Tree. All religions from the beginnings of 
man's religious time abide in me. And when the Dom- 
inie, in the chapel, here in Folsom of a Sunday, worships 
God in his own good modem way, I know that in him, the 
Dominie, still abide the worships of the Plough, the Fish, 
the Tree — ay, and also all worships of Astarte and the 
i^ight. 

I have been an Aryan master in old Egypt when my 
soldiers scrawled obscenities on the carven tombs of kings 
dead and gone and forgotten aforetime. And I, the 
Aryan master in old Egypt, have myself builded my two 
burial places — the one a false and mighty pyramid to 
which a generation of slaves could attest ; the other, hum- 
ble, meager, secret, rock-hewn in a desert valley by slaves 
who died immediately their work was done. . . . And I 
wonder me here in Folsom, while democracy dreams its 
enchantments o'er the twentieth century world, whether 
there, in the rock-he'^Ti crypt of that secret, desert valley, 
the bones still abide that once were mine and that stiffened 
my animated body when I was an Aryan master high- 
stomached to command. 

And on the great drift, southward and eastward iinder 



THE STAR ROVER 299 

the burning sun that perished all descendants of the 
houses of Asgard and Vanaheim that took part in it, I 
have been a king in Ceylon, a builder of Aryan monu- 
ments under Aryan kings in old Java and old Sumatra, 
And I have died an hundred deaths on the great South Sea 
Drift ere ever the rebirth of men came to plant monu- 
ments, that only Aryans plant, on volcanic tropic islands 
that I, Darrell Standing, cannot name, being too well 
versed to-day in that far sea geography. 

If only I were articulate to paint in the frail medium of 
words what I see and know and possess incorporated in 
my consciousness of the mighty driftage of the races in 
the times before our present written history began ! Yes, 
we had our history even then. Our old men, our priests, 
our wise ones, told our history into tales and wrote those 
tales in the stars so that our seed after us should not for- 
get. From the sky came the life-giving rain and the sun- 
light. And we studied the sky, learned from the stars to 
calculate time and apportion the seasons; and we named 
the stars after our heroes and our foods and our devices 
for getting food; and after our wanderings, and drifts, 
and adventures ; and after our functions and our furies of 
impulse and desire. 

And alas ! we thought the heavens unchanging on which 
we wrote all our humble yearnings and all the humble 
things we did or dreamed of doing. When I was a Son of 
the Bull, I remember me a lifetime I spent at star-gaz- 
ing. And, later and earlier, there were other lives in 
which I sang with the priests and bards the taboo-songs of 
the stars wherein we believed was written our imperish- 
able record. And here, at the end of it all, I pore over 
books of astronomy from the prison library, such as they 
allow condemned men to read, and learn that even the 
heavens are passing fluxes, vexed with star-driftage as the 
earth is by the drifts of men. 



300 THE STAK EOVER 

Equipped with this modern knowledge, I have, return- 
ing through the little death from my earlier lives, been 
able to compare the heavens then and now. And the stars 
do change. I have seen pole stars and pole stars and 
d;>Taasties of pole stars. The pole star to-day is in Ursa 
Minor. Yet, in those far days I have seen the pole star 
in Draco, in Hercules, in Vega, in Cygnus, and in Cepheus. 
No ; not even the stars abide, and yet the memory and the 
knowledge of them abides in me, in the spirit of me that 
is memory and that is eternal. Only spirit abides. All 
pise, being mere matter, passes, and must pass. 

Oh, I do see myself to-day that one man who appeared 
in the elder world, blond, ferocious, a killer and a lover, a 
meat-eater and a root-digger, a gypsy and a robber, who, 
club and hand, through millenniums of years, wandered 
the world around seeking meat to devour and sheltered 
nests for his younglings and sucklings. 

I am that man, the sum of him, the all of him, the hair- 
less biped who struggled upward from the slime and cre- 
ated love and law out of the anarchy of fecund life that 
screamed and squalled in the jungle. I am all that that 
man was and did become. I see myself, through the pain- 
ful generations, snaring and killing the game and the fish, 
clearing the first fields from the forest, making rude tools 
of stone and bone, building houses of wood, thatching the 
roofs with leaves and straw, domesticating the wild grasses 
and meadow-roots, fathering them to become the progeni- 
tors of rice and millet and wheat and barley and all man- 
ner of succulent edibles, learning to scratch the soil, to 
sow, to reap, to store, beating out the fibers of plants to 
spin into thread and to weave into cloth, devising systems 
of irrigation, working in metals, making markets and trade- 
routes, building boats, and founding navigation — ay, and 
organizing village life, welding villages to villages till 
they became tribes, welding tribes together till they became 



THE STAR ROVER 301 

nations, ever seeking the laws of things, ever making the 
laws of humans so that humans might live together in 
amity and by united effort beat down and destroy all man- 
ner of creeping, crawling, squalling things that might else 
destroy them, 

I was that man in all his births and endeavors. I am 
that man to-day, waiting my due death by the law that I 
helped to devise many a thousand years ago, and by which 
I have died many times before this, many times. And as 
I contemplate this vast past history of me, I find several 
great and splendid influences, and, chiefest of these, the 
love of woman, man's love for the woman of his kind. I 
see myself, the one man, the lover, always the lover. Yes, 
also was I the great fighter, but somehow it seems to me 
as I sit here and evenly balance it all, that I was, more 
than aught else, the great lover. It was because I loved 
greatly that I was the great fighter. 

Sometimes I think that the story of man is the story of 
the love of woman. This memory of all my past that I 
write now is the memory of my love of woman. Ever, 
in the ten thousand lives and guises, I loved her. I love 
her now. My sleep is fraught with her ; my waking fan- 
cies, no matter whence they start, lead me always to her. 
There is no escaping her, that eternal, splendid, ever-re- 
splendent figure of woman. 

Oh, make no mistake. I am no callow, ardent youth. 
I am an elderly man, broken in health and body, and soon 
to die. I am a scientist and a philosopher. I, as all the 
generations of philosophers before me, know woman for 
what she is — her weaknesses, and meannesses, and im- 
modesties, and ignobilities, her earth-bound feet and her 
eyes that have never seen the stars. But — and the ever- 
lasting, irrefragable fact remains : Her feet are heautijul, 
Tier eyes are beautiful, her arms and breasts are paradise, 
her charm is potent beyond all charm that has ever dazzled 



302 THE STAK ROVER 

man; and, as the pole willy nilly draws the needle, just 
so, willy nilly, does she draw man. 

Woman has made me laugh at death and distance, scorn 
fatigue and sleep. I have slain men, many men, for love 
of woman, or in warm blood have baptized our nuptials 
or washed away the stain of her favor to another. I have 
gone down to death and dishonor, my betrayal of my com- 
rades and of the stars black upon me, for woman's sake 
— for my sake, rather, I desired her so. And I have lain 
in the barley, sick with yearning for her, just to see her 
pass and glut my eyes with the swaying wonder of her and 
of her hair, black with the night, or brown or flaxen, or 
all golden-dusty with the sun. 

For woman is beautiful ... to man. She is sweet 
to his tongue, and fragrance in his nostrils. She is fire in 
his blood, and a thunder of trumpets ; her voice is beyond 
all music in his ears ; and she can shake his soul that else 
stands stedfast in the draughty presence of the Titans 
of the Light and of the Dark. And beyond his star-gaz- 
ing, in his far imagined heavens, Valkyrie or houri, man 
has fain made place for her, for he could see no heaven 
without her. And the sword, in battle, singing, sings 
not so sweet a song as the woman sings to man merely by 
her laugh in the moonlight, or her love-sob in the dark, 
or by her swaying on her way under the sun while he lies 
dizzy with longing in the grass. 

I have died of love. I have died for love, as you shall 
see. In a little while they will take me out, me, Darrell 
Standing, and make me die. And that death shall be for 
love. Oh, not lightly was I stirred when I slew Professor 
Haskell in the laboratory at the University of California. 
He was a man. I was a man. And there was a woman 
beautiful. Do you understand? She was a woman and 
I was a man, and a lover, and all the heredity of love was 



THE STAE EOVER 303 

mine up from the black and squalling jungle ere love was 
love and man was man. 

Oh, ay, it is nothing new. Often, often, in that long 
past, have I given life and honor, place and power, for 
love. ,Man is different from woman. She is close to the 
immediate- and knows only the need of instant things. ^ '/^ 
We know honor above her honor, and pride beyond her -■^ KHr^ 
wildest guess of pride. Our eyes are f ar-visioned for star- 
gazing, while her eyes see no farther than the solid earth 
beneath her feet, the lover's breast upon her breast, the 
infant lusty in the hollow of her arm. And yet, such is 
our alchemy compounded of the ages, woman works magic 
in our dreams and in our veins, so that more than dreams 
and far visions and the blood of life itself is woman to us, 
who, as lovers truly say, is more than all the world. Yet 
is this just, else would man not be man, the fighter and 
the conqueror, treading his red way on the face of all other 
and lesser life — for, had man not been the lover, the 
royal lover, he could never have become the kingly fighter. 
We fight best, and die best, and live best, for what we 
love. 

I am that one man. I see myself the many selves that 
have gone into the constituting of me. And ever I see 
the woman, the many women, who have made me and un- 
done me, who have loved me and whom I have loved. 

I remember, oh, long ago when human kind was very 
young, that I made me a snare and a pit with a pointed 
stake upthrust in the middle thereof, for the taking of 
Sabre-Tooth. Sabre-Tooth, long-fanged and long-haired, 
was the chiefest peril to us of the squatting place, who 
crouched through the nights over our fires and by day in- 
creased the growing shell-bank beneath us by the clams we 
dug and devoured from the salt mud-flats beside us. 

And when the roar and the squall of Sabre-Tooth roused 



304: THE STAR EOVER 

us where we squatted by our dying embers, and I was wild 
with far vision of the proof of the pit and the stake, it was 
the woman, arms about me, leg-twining, who fought with 
me and restrained me not to go out through the dark to my 
desire. She was part-clad, for warmth only, in skins of 
animals, mangy and fire-burnt, that I had slain; she was 
swart and dirty with campsmoke unwashed since the spring 
rains, with nails gnarled and broken and hands that were 
calloused like foot-pads and were more like claws than like 
hands; but her eyes were blue as the summer sky is, as 
the deep sea is, and there was that in her eyes, and in her 
clasped arms about me, and in her heart beating against 
mine, that withheld me . . . though through the dark 
until dawn, while Sabre-Tooth squalled his wrath and his 
agony, I could hear my comrades snickering and snig- 
gling to their women in that I had not the faith in my 
emprise and invention to venture through the night to the 
pit and the stake I had devised for the undoing of Sabre- 
Tooth. But my woman, my savage mate held me, savage 
that I was, and her eyes drew me, and her arms chained 
me, and her twining legs and heart beating to mine se- 
duced me from my far dream of things, my man's achieve- 
ment, the goal beyond goals, the taking and the slaying of 
Sabre-Tooth on the stake in the pit. 

Once I w^as Ushu, the archer. I remember it well. 
, "For I was lost from my own people, through the great 
forest, till I emerged on the flat lands and grass lands, 
and was taken in by a strange people, kin in that their 
skin was white, their hair yellow, their speech not too re- 
mote from mine. And she was Igar, and I drew her as 
I sang in the twilight, for she was destined a race-mother, 
and she was broad-built and full-dugged, and she could not 
but draw to the man heavy-muscled, deep-chested, who 
sang of his prowess in man-slaying and in meat-getting, 
and so, promised food and protection to her in her weak- 



THE STAE EOVER 305 

ness whilst she mothered the seed that was to hunt the meat 
and live after her. 

And these people knew not the wisdom of my people, in 
that they snared and pitted their meat and in battle used 
clubs and stone throwing-sticks and were unaware of the 
virtues of arrows swift-flying, notched on the end to fit 
the thong of deer-sinew, well-twisted, that sprang into 
straightness when released to the spring of the ash-stick 
bent in the middle. 

And while I sang, the stranger men laughed in the 
twilight. And only she, Igar, believed and had faith in 
me. I took her alone to the hunting, where the deer 
sought the water-hole. And my bow twanged and sang in 
the covert, and the deer fell fast-stricken, and the warm 
meat was sweet to us, and she was mine there by the water- 
hole. 

And because of Igar I remained with the strange men. 
And I taught them the making of bows from the red and 
sweet-smelling wood like unto cedar. And I taught them 
to keep both eyes open, and to aim with the left eye, and 
to make blunt shafts for small game, and pronged shafts 
of bone for the fish in the clear water, and to flake arrow- 
heads from obsidian for the deer and the wild horse, the 
elk and old Sabre-Tooth. But the flaking of stone they 
laughed at, till I shot an elk through and through, the 
flaked stone standing out and beyond, the feathered shaft 
sunk in its vitals, the whole tribe applauding. 

I was Ushu, the Archer, and Igar was my woman and 
mate. We laughed under the sun in the morning, when 
our man-child and woman-child, yellowed like honey-bees, 
sprawled and rolled in the mustard, and at night she lay 
close in my arms, and loved me, and urged me, because of 
my skill at the seasoning of woods and the flaking of ar- 
row-heads, that I should stay close by the camp and let 
the other men bring to me the meat from the perils of 



306 ,THE STAR EOVER 

hunting. And I listened, and grew fat and sliort-breathed, 
and in the long nights, unsleeping, worried that the men 
of the stranger tribe brought me meat for mj wisdom and 
honor, but laughed at my fatness and undesire for the hunt- 
ing and fighting. 

And in my old age, when our sons were man-grown and I 
our daughters were mothers, w^hen up from the southland 
the dark men, flat-browed, kinky-headed, surged like waves 
of the sea upon us and we fled back before them to the 
hill-slopes, Igar, like my mates far before and long after, 
leg-twining, arm-clasping, unseeing far visions, strove to 
hold me aloof from the battle. 

And I tore myself from her, fat and short-breathed, 
while she wept that no longer I loved her, and I went out 
to the night-fighting and dawn-fighting, where, to the sing- 
ing of bowstrings and the shrilling of arrows, feathered, 
sharp-pointed, we showed them, the kinky-heads, the skill 
of the killing and taught them the wit and the willing of 
slaughter. 

And as I died there, at the end of the fighting, there 
were death songs and singing about me, and the songs 
seemed to sing as these the words I have written when I 
was Ushu, the Archer, and Igar, my mate-woman, leg- 
twining, arm-clasping, would have held me back from the 
battle. 

Once, and heaven alone knows when, save that it was 
in the long ago when man was young, we lived beside great 
swamps, where the hills drew do"v\Ti close to the wide, slug- 
gish river, and where our women gathered berries and 
roots, and there were herds of deer, of wild horses, of an- 
telope, and of elk, that we men slew with arrows or trapped 
in pits or hill-pockets. From the river we caught fish in 
nets twisted by the women of the bark of young trees. 

I was a man, eager and curious as the antelope when 
we lured it by waving grass clumps where we lay hidden 



THE STAK EOVER 30^ 

in the thick of the grass. The wild rice grew in the 
swamp, rising sheer from the water on the edges of the 
channels. Each morning the blackbirds awoke us with 
their chatter as they left their roosts to fly to the swamp. 
And through the long twilight the air was filled with their 
noise as they went back to their roosts. It was the time 
that the rice ripened. And there were ducks also, and 
ducks and blackbirds feasted to fatness on the ripe rice 
half unhusked by the sun. 

Being a man, ever restless, ever questing, wondering 
always what lay beyond the hills and beyond the swamps 
and in the mud at the river's bottom, I watched the wild 
ducks and blackbirds and pondered till my pondering gave 
me vision and I saw. And this is what I saw, the reason- 
ing of it: 

Meat was good to eat. In the end, tracing it back, or 
at the first, rather, all meat came from grass. The meat 
of the duck and of the blackbird came from the seed of the 
swamp rice. To kill a duck with an arrow scarce paid for 
the labor of stalking and the long hours in hiding. The 
blackbirds were too small for arrow-killing save by the 
boys who were learning and preparing for the taking of 
larger game. And yet, in rice season blackbirds and 
ducks were succulently fat. Their fatness came from the 
rice. Why should I and mine not be fat from the rice in 
the same way? 

And I thought it out in camp, silent, morose, while the 
children squabbled about me unnoticed, and while Arunga, 
my mate-woman, vainly scolded me and urged me to go 
hunting for more meat for the many of us. 

Arunga was the woman I had stolen from the hill-tribes. 
She and I had been a dozen moons in learning common 
speech after I captured her. Ah, that day when I leaped 
upon her, down from the overhanging tree-branch as she 
padded the runway ! Eairly upon her shoulders with the 



308 THE STAE EOVER 

weiglit of my body I smote her, my fingers wide-spreading 
to clutch her. She squalled like a cat there in the run- 
way. She fought me and bit me. The nails of her hands 
were like the claws of a tree-cat as they tore at me. But 
I held her and mastered her, and for two days beat her 
and forced her to travel wdth me down out of the canyons 
of the Hill-Men to the grass lands where the river flowed ^ 
through the rice-swamps and the ducks and the blackbirds 
fed fat. 

I saw my vision when the rice was ripe. I put Arunga 
in the bow of the fire-hollowed log that was most rudely 
a canoe. I bade her paddle. In the stern I spread a 
deerskin she had tanned. With two stout sticks I bent 
the stalks over the deerskin and threshed out the grain 
that else the blackbirds would have eaten. And when I 
had worked out the way of it, I gave the two stout sticks 
to Arunga, and sat in the bow paddling and directing. 

In the past we had eaten the raw rice in passing and not 
been pleased with it. But now we parched it over our fire 
so that the grains puffed and exploded in whiteness and all 
the tribe came running to taste. 

After that we became known among men as the Rice- 
Eaters and as the Sons of the Rice. And long, long after, 
when we were driven by the Sons of the River from the 
swamps into the uplands, we took the seed of the rice with 
us, and planted it. We learned to select the largest grains 
for the seed, so that all the rice we thereafter ate was • 
larger-grained and puffier in the parching and the boiling. 

But Arunga. I have said she squalled and scratched 
like a cat when I stole her. Yet I remember the time 
when her own kin of the Hill-Men caught me and carried 
me away into the hills. They were her father, his brother, 
and her two own blood-brothers. But she was mine, who 
had lived with me. And at night, where I lay bound like 
a wild pig for the slaying, and they slept weary by the 



THE STAK ROVER 309 

fire, slie crept upon them and brained them with the war- 
club that with my hands I had fashioned. And she wept 
over me, and loosed me, and fled with me, back to the wide 
sluggish river where the blackbirds and wild ducks fed in 
the rice swamps — for this was before the time of the 
coming of the Sons of the River. 

For she was Arunga, the one woman, the eternal woman. 
She has lived in all times and places. She will always 
live. She is immortal. Once, in a far land, her name 
was Ruth. Also has her name been Iseult, and Helen, 
Pocahontas, and TJnga. And no stranger men, from 
stranger tribes, but has found her and will find her in the 
tribes of all the earth. 

I remember so many women who have gone into the be- 
coming of the one woman. There was the time that Har, 
my brother, and I, sleeping and pursuing in turn, ever 
hounding the wild stallion through the da;>i;ime and night, 
and in a wide circle that met where the sleeping one lay, 
drove the stallion unresting through hunger and thirst to 
the meekness of weakness, so that in the end he could but 
stand and tremble while we bound him with ropes twisted 
of deer-hide. On our legs alone, without hardship, aided 
merely by wit — the plan was mine — my brother and I 
walked that fleet-footed creature into possession. 

And when all was ready for me to get on his back — 
for that had been my vision from the first — Selpa, my, 
"woman, put her arms about me, and raised her voice and 
persisted that Har, and not I, should ride, for Har had 
neither wife nor young ones and could die without hurt. 
Also, in the end she wept, so that I was raped of my vision, 
and it was Har, naked and clinging, that bestrode the 
stallion when he vaulted away. 

It was sunset, and a time of great wailing, when they 
carried Har in from the far rocks where they found him. 
His head was quite broken, and like honey from a fallen. 



310 THE STAR ROVEE 

bee-tree his brains dripped on the ground. His mother 
strewed wood-ashes on her head and blackened her face. 
His father cut off half the fingers of one hand in token of 
sorrow. And all the women, especially the young and un- 
wedded, screamed evil names at me ; and the elders shook 
their wise heads and muttered and mumbled that not their 
fathers nor their fathers' fathers had betrayed such a mad- 
ness. Horse meat was good to eat ; young colts were ten- 
der to old teeth; and only a fool would come to close 
grapples with any wildhorse save when an arrow had 
pierced it, or when it struggled on the stake in the midst 
of the pit. 

And Selpa scolded me to sleep, and in the morning woke 
me with her chatter, ever declaiming against my madness, 
ever pronouncing her claim upon me and the claims of our 
children, till in the end I grew weary, and forsook my far 
vision, and said never again would I dream of bestriding 
the wild horse to fly swift as its feet and the wind across 
the sands and the grass lands. 

And through the years the tale of my madness never 
ceased from being told over the campfire. Yet was the 
very telling the source of my vengeance ; for the dream did 
not die, and the young ones, listening to the laugh and the 
sneer, redreamed it, so that, in the end it was Othar my 
eldest-born, himself a sheer stripling, that walked down a 
wild stallion, leapt on its back, and flew before all of us 
with the speed of the wind. Thereafter, that they might 
keep up with him, all men were trapping and breaking 
wild horses. Many horses were broken, and some men, 
but I lived at the last to the day when, at the changing of 
camp-sites in the pursuit of the meat in its seasons, our 
very babes, in baskets of willow-withes, were slung side 
and side on the backs of our horses that carried our camp- 
trappage and dunnage. 

I, a young man, had seen my vision, dreamed my dream ; 



THE STAK EOYER 3ll 

Selpa, the woman, had held me from that far desire ; but 
Othar, the seed of us to live after, glimpsed my vision and 
won to it, so that our tribe became wealthy in the gains of 
the chase. 

There was a woman — on the great drift down out of 
Europe, a weary drift of many generations, when we 
brought into India the shorthorn cattle and the planting 
of barley. But this woman was long before we reached 
India. We were still in the midmost of that centuries- 
long drift, and no shrewdness of geography can now place 
for me that ancient valley. 

The woman was Nuhila. The valley was narrow, not 
long, and the swift slope of its floor and the steep walls 
of its rim were terraced for the growing of rice and of mil- 
let — the first rice and millet we Sons of the Mountain had 
knowm. They were a meek people in that valley. They 
bad become soft with the farming of fat land made fatter 
by water. Theirs was the first irrigation we had seen, 
although we had little time to mark their ditches and chan- 
nels by which all the hill waters flowed to the fields they 
had builded. We had little time to mark, for we Sons 
of the Mountain, who were few, were in flight before the 
Sons of the Snub-Nose, who were many. We called them 
the jSToseless, and they called themselves the Sons of the 
Eagle. But they were many, and we fled before them 
with our shorthorn cattle, our goats and our barleyseed, 
our women and children. 

While the Snub-Noses slew our youths at the rear, we 
slew at our fore the folk of the valley who opposed us and 
were weak. The village was mud-built and grass-thatched ; 
the encircling wall was of mud, but quite tall. And when 
we had slain the people who had built the wall, and 
sheltered within it our herds and our women and chil- 
dren, we stood on the wall and shouted insult to the Snub- 
Noses. For we had found the mud granaries filled with 



312 THE STAK ROVER 

rice and millet. Our cattle could eat tlie thatches. And 
the time of the rains was at hand, so that we should not 
want for water. 

It was a long siege. iNear to the beginning, we gathered 
together the women, and elders, and children we had not 
slain, and forced them out through the wall they had 
builded. But the Snub-!N'oses slew them to the last one, 
so that there was more food in the village for us, more food 
in the valley for the Snub-Noses. 

It was a weary long siege. Sickness smote us, and we 
died of the plague that arose from our buried ones. We 
emptied the mud-granaries of their rice and millet. Our 
goats and shorthorns ate the thatch of the houses, and we, 
ere the end, ate the goats and the shorthorns. 

Where there had been five men of us on the wall, thero 
came a time when there was one, where there had been half 
a thousand babes and younglings of ours, there were none. 
It was Nuhila, my woman, who cut off her hair and 
twisted it that I might have a strong string for my bow. 
The other women did likewise, and, when the wall was 
attacked, stood shoulder to shoulder with us, in the midst 
of our spears and arrows raining down potsherds and cob- 
blestones on the heads of the Snub-IS[oses. 

Even the patient Snub-I^oses we well-nigh out-patienced. 
Came a time when of ten men of us, but one was alive on 
the wall, and of our women remained very few, and the 
Snub-Noses held parley. They told us we were a strong 
breed, and that our women were men-mothers, and that if 
we would let them have our women they would leave us 
alone in the valley to possess for ourselves and that we 
could get women from the valleys to the south. 

And Nuhila said no. And the other women said no. 
And we sneered at the Snub-lSToses and asked if they were 
weary of fighting. And we were as dead men then, as we 
sneered at our enemies, and there was little fight left in 



THE STAE EOVEK 313 

us, we were so weak. One more attack on the wall would 
end us. We knew it. Our women knew it. And Nuhila 
said that we could end it first and outwit the Snub- 
JSToses. And all our women agreed. And while the Snub- 
IsToses prepared for the attack that would be final, there, on 
the wall, we slew our women. Nuhila loved me, and 
leaned to meet the thrust of mj sword, there on the wall. 
And we men, in the love of tribehood and tribesmen, slew 
one another till remained only Horda and I alive in the 
red of the slaughter. And Horda was my elder, and I 
leaned to his thrust. But not at once did I die. I was 
the last of the Sons of the Mountain, for I saw Horda, 
himself fall on his blade and pass quickly. And dying, 
with the shouts of the oncoming Snub-Noses growing dim 
in my ears, I was glad that the Snub-I^oses would have no 
sons of us to bring up by our women. 

I do not know when this time was when I was a Son of 
the Mountain and when we died in the narrow valley where 
we had slain the Sons of the Rice and the Millet. I do not 
know, save that it was centuries before the wide-spreading 
drift of all us Sons of the Mountain fetched into India, 
and that it was long before ever I was an Aryan master in 
Old Egypt building my two burial places and defacing 
the tombs of kings before me. 

I should like to tell more of those far days, but time 
in the present is short. Soon I shall pass. Yet am I 
sorry that I cannot tell more of those early drifts, when 
there was crushage of peoples, or descending ice-sheets, 
or migrations of meat. 

Also, I should like to tell of Mystery. For always were 
we curious to solve the secrets of life, death, and decay. 
Unlike the other animals, man was forever gazing at the 
stars. Many gods he created in his own image and in the 
images of his fancy. In those old times I have worshiped 
the sun and the dark. I have worshiped the husked grain 



314 THE STAR EOVER 

as the parent of life. I have worshiped Sar, the Com- 
Goddess. And I have "worshiped Sea Gods and Eiver 
Gods, and Fish Gods. 

Yes, and I remember Ishtar ere she was stolen from 
us by the Babylonians, and Ea, too, was ours, supreme in 
the Under World, who enabled Ishtar to conquer death. 
Mitra, likewise was a good old Aryan god, ere he was 
filched from us or we discarded him. And I remember, 
on a time, long after the drift when we brought the barley 
into India, that I came down into India, a horse-trader, 
with many servants and a long caravan at my back, and 
that at that time they were worshiping Bodhisatwa. 

Truly, the worships of the Mystery wandered as did 
men, and between filchings and borrowings the gods had 
as vagabond a time of it as did we. As the Sumerians 
took the loan of Shamashnapishtin from us, so did the 
Sons of Shem take him from the Sumerians and call him 
[Noah. 

Why, I smile me to-day, Darrell Standing, in Mur- 
derers' Eow, in that I was found guilty and awarded 
death by twelve jurymen staunch and true. Twelve has 
ever been a magic number of the Mystery. Nor did it 
originate with the twelve tribes of Israel. Star-gazers be- 
fore them had placed the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the 
sky. And I remember me, when I was of the ^sir, and 
of the Vanir, that Odin sat in judgment over men in the 
court of the twelve gods, and that their names were Thor, 
BaJdur, iSriord, Frey, Tyr, Brogi, Heimdal, Hoder, Vidar, 
XJll, Forseti, and Loki. 

Even our Valkyries were stolen from us and made into 
angels, and the wings of the Valkyries' horses became at- 
tached to the shoulders of the angels. And our Helheim 
of that day of ice and frost has become the hell of to-day, 
which is so hot an al )de that the blood boils in one's veins, 
while with us, in our Helheim, the place was so cold as 



THE'STAE EOVEK 31^ 

to freeze the marrow inside the hones. And the very sky, 
that we dreamed enduring, eternal, has drifted and veered, 
so that we find to-day the Scorpion in the place where of 
old we knew the Goat, and the Archer in the place of the 
Crab. 

Worships and worships! Ever the pursuit of the 
Mystery! I remember the lame god of the Greeks, the 
master-smith. But their Vulcan was the Germanic Wie- 
land, the master-smith captured and hamstrung lame of 
a leg by Nidung, the king of the Nids. But before that 
he was our master-smith, our forger and hammerer, whom 
we named Il-marinen. And him we begat of our fancy, 
giving him the bearded sun-god for father, and nursing 
him by the stars of the Bear. For he, Vulcan, or Wieland, 
or Il-marinen, was bom under the Pine Tree, from the 
hair of the Wolf, and was called also the Bear-Father ere 
ever the Germans and Greeks purloined and worshiped 
him. In that day we called ourselves the Sons of the 
Bear and the Sons of the Wolf, and the Bear and the Wolf 
were our totems. That was before our drift south on 
which we joined with the Sons of the Tree-Grove and? 
taught them our totems and tales. 

Yes, and who was Kashyapa, who was Puru-ravas, bu? 
our lame master-smith, our iron-worker, carried by us in 
our drifts and renamed and worshiped by the south-dwel- 
lers and the east-dwellers, the Sons of the Pole and of the 
Fire Drill and Fire Socket. 

But the tale is too long, though I should like to tell of 
the three-leaved Herb of Life by which Sigmund made 
Sinfioti alive again. For this is the very Soma-plant 
of India, the Holy Grail of King Arthur, the — but 
enough! enough! i 

And yet, as I calmly consider it all, I conclude that 
the greatest thing in life, in all lives, to me and to all 
men, has been woman, is woman, and will be woman so 



'316 THE STAR ROVER 

'long as the stars drift in the sky and the heavens fiur 
eternal change. Greater than our toil and endeavor, the 
/^.^lay of invention and fancy, battle and star-gazing and 
Hystery — greatest of all has been woman. 

Even though she has sung false music to me, and kept 
.my feet solid on the ground, and drawn my star-roving 
"eyes ever back to gaze upon her, she, the conserver of life, 
the earth-mother, has given me my great days and nights 
and fulness of years. Even Mystery have I imaged in 
the form of her, and in my star-charting have I placed her 
'figure in the sky. 

All my toils and devices led to her; all my far visions 
saw her at the end. When I made the fire-drill and 
■fire-socket, it was for her. It was for her, although I did 
not know it, that I put the stake in the pit for old Sabre- 
^^^ iTooth, tamed the horse, slew the mammoth, and herded 
my reindeer south in advance of the ice-sheet. Eor her I 
harvested the wild rice, tamed the barley, the wheat, and 
the corn. 

Eor her, and the seed to come after whose image she 
bore, I have died in tree-tops and stood long sieges in cave- 
mouths and on mud-walls. Eor her I put the twelve signs 
in the sky. It was she I worshiped when I bowed before 
the ten stones of jade and adored them as the moons of 
gestation. 

Always has woman crouched close to earth like a part- 
ridge hen mothering her young; always has my wanton- 
ness of roving led me out on the shining ways ; and always 
have my star-paths returned me to her, the figure ever- 
lasting, the woman, the one woman, for whose arms I had 
6uch need that clasped in them I have forgotten the stars. 

Eor her I accomplished Odysseys, scaled mountains, 

crossed deserts ; for her I led the hunt and was forward in 

^ ^ battle ; and for her and to her I sang my songs of the things 

'^ I had done. All ecstasies of life and rhapsodies of delight 



THE STAE ROVEE 317 

have been mine because of her. And here, at the end, I 
can say that I have known no sweeter, deeper madness of 
being than to drown in the fragrant glory and forgetful- 
ness of her hair. 

One word more. I remember me Dorothy, just the 
other day, when I still lectured on agronomy to farmer-boy 
students. She was eleven years old. Her father was 
Dean of the college. She was a woman-child, and a 
woman, and she conceived that she loved me. And I 
smiled to myself, for my heart was untouched and lay else- 
svhere. 

Yet was the smile tender, for in the child's eyes I saw 
the woman eternal, the woman of all times and appear- 
ances. In her eyes I saw the eyes of my mate of the 
jungle and tree-top, of the cave and the squatting-place. 
In her eyes I saw the eyes of Igar when I was Ushu 
the Archer, the eyes of Arunga when I was the rice- 
harvester, the eyes of Selpa when I dreamed of bestriding 
the stallion, the eyes of ISTuhila who leaned to the thrust 
of my sword. Yes, there was that in her eyes that made 
them the eyes of Lei-Lei whom I left with a laugh on my 
lips, the eyes of the Lady Om for forty years my beggar- 
mate on highway and byway, the eyes of Philippa for 
whom I was slain on the grass in old France, the eyes of 
my mother when I was the lad Jesse at the Mountain 
Meadows in the circle of our forty great wagons. 

She was a woman-child, but she was daughter of all 
women, as her mother before her, and she was the mother 
of all women to come after her. She was Sar, the Corn- 
Goddess. She was Isthar who conquered death. She was 
Sheba and Cleopatra ; she was Esther and Ilerodias. She 
was Mary the Madonna, and Mary the Magdalene, and 
Mary the sister of Martha. Also she was Martha. And 
she was Brunehilde and Guinevere, Iseult and Juliet, 
Heloise and Nicolete. Yes, and she was Eve, she was 



318 THE SriE ~ EOVEE 

Xilith, she was j^starte. She was eleven years old, and sKe 
was all women that had been, all women to be. 

I sit in my cell now, while the flies hum in tHe drowsy 
summer afternoon, and I know that my time is short. 
Soon will they apparel me in the shirt without a collar. 
. . . But hush, my heart. The spirit is immortal. After 
the dark I shall live again, and there will be women. The 
future holds the little women for me in the lives I am yet 
to live. And though the stars drift, and the heavens lie, 
ever remains woman, resplendent, eternal, the one woman, 
as I, under all my masquerades and misadventures, am, 
the one man, her mate. 



CHAPTER XXII 

My time grows very short. All the manuscript I have 
written is safely smuggled out of the prison. There is a 
man I can trust who will see that it is published. ISTo 
longer am I in Murderers' Row. I am writing these lines 
in the death cell, and the death watch is set on me. Night 
and day is this death watch on me, and its paradoxical 
function is to see that I do not die. I must be kept alive 
for the hanging, or else will the public be cheated, the law 
blackened, and a mark of demerit placed against the time- 
serving warden who runs this prison and one of whose 
duties is to see that his condemned ones are duly and 
properly hanged. Often I marvel at the strange way some 
men make their livings. 

This shall be my last writing. To-morrow morning the 
hour is set. The Governor has declined to pardon or re- 
prieve, despite the fact that the Anti-Capital Punishment 
League has raised quite a stir in California. The re- 
porters are gathered like so many buzzards. I have seen 
them all. They are queer young fellows, most of them, 
and most queer is it that they will thus earn bread and 
butter, cocktails and tobacco, room-rent, and, if they are 
married, shoes and schoolbooks for their children, by wit- 
nessing the execution of Professor Darrell Standing, and 
by describing for the public how Professor Darrell Stand- 
ing died at the end of a rope. Ah, well, they will be sicker 
than I at the end of the affair. 

As I sit here and muse on it all, the footfalls of the 

deathwatch going up and down outside my cage, the man's 

suspicious eyes ever peering in on me, almost I weary of 

319 



320 THE STAE EOVEK 

eternal recnrrence. I liave lived so many lives. I weary 
of the endless struggle and pain and catastrophe that 
come to those who sit in the high places, tread the shin- 
ing ways, and wander among the stars. 

Almost I hope, when next I reinhabit form, that it shall 
be that of a peaceful farmer. There is my dream-farm. 
I should like to engage just for one whole life in that. 
Oh, my dream-farm! My alfalfa meadows, my efficient 
Jersey cattle, my upland pastures, my brush-covered slopes 
melting into tilled fields, while ever higher up the slopes 
my angora goats eat away brush to tillage ! 

There is a basin there, a natural basin high up the 
slopes, with a generous watershed on three sides. I 
should like to throw a dam across the fourth side, whicH 
is surprisingly narrow. At a paltry price of labor I could 
impound twenty million gallons of water. For, see: one 
great drawback to farming in California is our long dry 
summer. This prevents the growing of cover crops, and 
the sensitive soil, naked, a mere surface dust-mulch, has 
its humus burned out of it by the sun. Now with that 
dam I could grow three crops a year, observing due rota- 
tion, and be able to turn under a wealth of green 
manure. . . . 

I have just endured a visit from the warden. I say 
" endured " advisedly. He is quite different from the 
Warden of San Quentin. He was very nervous, and per- 
force I had to entertain him. This is his first hanging. 
He told me so. And I, with a clumsy attempt at wit, did 
not reassure him when I explained that it was also my first 
hanging. He was unable to laugh. He has a girl in high 
school, and his boy is a freshman at Stanford. He has no 
income outside his salary, his wife is an invalid, and he 
is worried in that he has been rejected by the life insur- 
ance doctors as an undesirable risk. Really, the man told 



THE STAK EOVEK 321! 

me almost all his troubles. Had I not diplomatically^ 
terminated the interview he would still be here telling me 
the remainder of them. 

My last two years in San Quentin were very gloomy and 
depressing. Ed Morrell, by one of the wildest freaks of 
chance, was taken out of solitary and made head trusty 
of the whole prison. This was Al Hutchins' old job, and 
it carried a graft of three thousand dollars a year. To my 
misfortune, Jake Oppenheimer, who had rotted in solitary 
for so many years, turned sour on the world, on every- 
thing. Eor eight months he refused to talk even to! 
me. 

In prison, news will travel. Give it time and it will 
reach dungeon and solitary cell. It reached me, at last, 
that Cecil Winwood, the poet-forger, the snitcher, the cow- 
ard, and the stool, was returned for a fresh forgery. It 
will be remembered that it was this Cecil Winwood who 
concocted the fairy story that I had changed the plant of 
the non-existent dynamite and who was responsible for the 
five years I had then spent in solitary. 

I decided to kill Cecil Winwood. You see, Morrell was 
gone, and Oppenheimer, until the outbreak that finished 
him, had remained in the silence. Solitary had grown 
monotonous for me. I had to do something. So I re- 
remembered back to the time when I was Adam Strang 
and patiently nursed revenge for forty years. What he 
had done I could do if once I locked my hands on Cecil 
Winwood's throat. 

It cannot be expected of me to divulge how I came into 
possession of the four needles. They were small cambric 
needles. Emaciated as my body was, I had to saw four 
bars, each in two places, in order to make an aperture 
through which I could squirm. I did it. I used up one 
needle to each bar. This meant two cuts to a bar, and it 
took a month to a cut. Thus I should have been eight 



'322 THE STAR ROVER 

montHs in cutting my way out. Unfortunately, I broke 
my last needle on the last bar, and I had to wait three 
months before I could get another needle. But I got it, 
and I got out. 

I regret greatly that I did not get Cecil Winwood. I 
had calculated well on everything save one thing. The 
certain chance to find Winwood would be in the dining 
room at dinner hour. So I waited until Pie-Face Jones, 
the sleepy guard, should be on shift at the noon hour. At 
that time I was the only inmate of solitary, so that Pie- 
Face Jones was quickly snoring. I removed my bars, 
squeezed out, stole past him along the ward, opened the 
door and was free ... to a portion of the inside of the 
prison. 

And here was the one thing I had not calculated on — 
imyself. I had been five years in solitary. I was hide- 
ously weak. I weighed eighty-seven pounds. I was half 
blind. And I was immediately stricken with agoraphobia. 
I was affrighted by spaciousness. Five years in narrow 
walls had unfitted me for the enormous declivity of the 
stairway, for the vastitude of the prison yard. 

The descent of that stairway I consider the most heroic 
(exploit I ever accomplished. The yard was deserted. 
The blinding sun blazed down on it. Thrice I essayed to 
cross it. But my senses reeled and I shrank back to the 
wall for protection. Again, summoning all my courage, 
I attempted it. But my poor blear eyes, like a bat's, 
startled me at my shadow on the flagstones. I attempted 
to avoid my own shadow, tripped, fell over it, and like 
a drowning man struggling for shore crawled back on 
hands and knees to the wall. 

I leaned against the wall and cried. It was the first 
time in many years that I had cried. I remember noting, 
even in my extremity, the warmth of the tears on my 
cheeks and the salt taste :when they reached my lipsv 



THE STAE ROVEK 823 

TKen I had a chill, and for a time shook" as witH an ague. 
Abandoning the openness of the yard as too impossible a 
feat for one in my condition, still shaking with the chill, 
crouching close to the protecting wall, my hands touching 
it, I started to skirt the yard. 

Then it was, somewhere along, that the guard Thurston, 
espied me. I saw him, distorted by my bleared eyes, a 
huge, well-fed monster, rushing upon me with incredible 
speed out of the remote distance. Possibly, at that mo- 
ment, he was twenty feet away. He weighed one hun- 
dred and seventy pounds. The struggle between us can 
be easily imagined, but somewhere in that brief struggle 
it was claimed that I struck him on the nose with my fist 
Jo such purpose as to make that organ bleed. 

At any rate, being a lifer, and the penalty in California 
for battery by a lifer being death, I was so found guilty 
by a jury which could not ignore the asseverations of the 
guard Thurston and the rest of the prison hangdogs that 
testified, and I was so sentenced by a judge who could not 
ignore the law as spread plainly on the statute book. 

I was well pummeled by Thurston, and all the way back 
up that prodigious stairway I was roundly kicked, punched, 
and cuffed by the horde of trusties and guards who got in 
one another's way in their zeal to assist him. Heavens, 
if his nose did bleed the probability is that some of his 
own kind were guilty of causing it in the confusion of the 
scuffle. I shouldn't care if I were responsible for it my- 
self, save that it is so pitiful a thing for which to hang a 
man. . . . 

I have just had a talk with the man on shift of my 
death watch. A little less than a year ago, Jake Oppen- 
heimer occupied this same death-cell on the road to the 
gallows which I will tread to-morrow. This man was one 
of the death-watch on Jake. He is an old soldier. Hq 



324' THE STAR EOVER 

chews tobacco constantly, and untidily, for his gray bear3 
and mustache are stained yellow. He is a widower, witK 
fourteen living children, all married, and is the grand- 
father of thirty-one living grandchildren, and the great- 
grandfather of four younglings, all girls. It was like 
pulling teeth to extract such information. He is a queer 
old codger, of a low order of intelligence. That is why, I 
fancy, he has lived so long and fathered so numerous a 
progeny. His mind must have crystallized thirty years 
ago. His ideas are none of them later than that vintage.. 
He rarely says more than yes and no to me. It is not be- 
cause he is surly. He has no ideas to utter. I don't know, 
when I live again, but what one incarnation such as his 
would be a nice vegetative existence in which to rest upf 
ere I go star-roving again. . . . 

But to go bact. I must take a line in which to tell,; 
after I was hustled and bustled, kicked and punched, up; 
that terrible stairway by Thurston and the rest of the 
prison-dogs, of the infinite relief of my narrow cell when I 
found myself back in solitary. It was all so safe, so se- 
cure. I felt like a lost child returned home again. I 
loved those very walls that I had so hated for five years.- 
All that kept the vastness of space, like a monster, from' 
pouncing upon me were those good stout walls of mine, 
close to hand on every side. Agoraphobia is a terrible i 
affliction. I have had little opportunity to experience it, . 
but from that little I can only conclude that hanging is a 
far easier matter. ... 

I have just had a hearty laugh. The prison doctor, 3 
likable chap, has just been in to have a yarn with me, in- 
cidentally to proffer me his good offices in the matter of 
dope. Of course I declined his proposition to " shoot me '* 
60 fuU of morphine through the night that to-morrow I 



THE STAE EOVEE 325 

iwoiild not know, when I marched to the gallows, whether 
I was " coming or going." 

But the laugh. It was just like Jake Oppenheimer. 
I can see the lean keenness of the man as he strung the re- 
porters with his deliberate bull which they thought in- 
voluntary. It seems, his last morning, breakfast finished, 
incased in the shirt without a collar, that the reporters, 
assembled for his last word in his cell, asked him for his 
views on capital punishment. 

— Who says we have more than the slightest veneer of 
civilization coated over our raw savagery when a group of 
living men can ask such a question of a man about to die 
and whom they are to see die ? 

But Jake was ever game. " Gentlemen," he said, " I 
hope to live to see the day when capital punishment is 
abolished." 

I have lived many lives through the long ages. Man, 
the individual, has made no moral progress in the past ten 
thousand years. I affirm this absolutely. The difference 
between an unbroken colt and the patient draught horse 
is purely a difference of training. Training is the only i 
moral difference between the man of to-day and the man[| 
of ten thousand years ago. Under his thin skin of mchll 
rality which he has had polished onto him, he is the same j^ 
savage that he was ten thousand years ago. Morality isf 
a social fund, an accretion through the painful ages. The 
new-born child will become a savage unless it is trained, 
polished, by the abstract morality that has been so long 
accumulating. 

" Thou shalt not kill " — piffle ! They are going to kill 
me to-morrow morning. " Thou shalt not kill " — piffle ! 
In the shipyards of all civilized countries they are laying 
to-day the keels of dreadnaughts and of superdreadnaughts. 
Dear friends, I who am about to die, salute you with — t 
"Piffle!" 



326 THE STAE ROVER 

I ask you, what finer morality is preached to-day than 

was preached by Christ, by Buddha, by Socrates and Plato, 

by Confucius and whoever was the author of the " Maha- 

bharata " ? / Good Lord, fifty thousand years ago, in our 

I totem-families, our women were cleaner, our family and 

y^^^ group relations more rigidly right. 

I must say that the morality we practised in those old 

\ days was a finer morality than is practised to-day. Don't 

dismiss this thought hastily. Think of our child labor, 

of our police graft and our political corruption, of our food 

adulteration and of our slavery of the daughters of the 

Upoor. When I was a Son of the Mountain and a Son of the 
'Bull prostitution had no meaning. We were clean, I tell 
V you. We did not dream of such depths of depravity. 
lYea, so are all the lesser animals of to-day clean. It re- 
quired man, with his imagination, aided by his mastery 
of matter, to invent the deadly sins. The lesser animals, 
Hhe other animals, are incapable of sin. 

I read hastily back through the many lives of many 
times and many places. I have never known cruelty more 
terrible, nor so terrible, as the cruelty of our prison sys- 
tem of to-day. I have told you what I have endured in the 
jacket and in solitary in the first decade of this twentieth 
century after Christ. In the old days we punished dras- 
L tically and killed quickly. We did it because we so de- 
'|>^ sired, because of whim, if you so please. But we were not 
hypocrites. We did not call upon press, and pulpit, and 
university to sanction us in our wilfulness of savagery. 
""iWhat we wanted to do we went and did, on our legs up- 
standing, and we faced all reproof and censure on our 
legs upstanding, and did not hide behind the skirts of 
classical economists and bourgeois philosophers, nor be- 
hind the skirts of subsidized preachers, professors, and 
editors. 

Why, goodness me, a hundred years iago, fifty years ago, 



THE STAE EOVEE 327 

1 
five years ago, in these United States, assault and batter;^ 
was not a civil capital crime. But this year, the year of 
Our Lord 1913, in the State of California, they hanged 
Jake Oppenheimer for such an offense, and to-morrow, for 
the civil capital crime of punching a man on the nose they 
are going to take me out and hang me. Query : Doe§n't — j 
it require a long time for the ape and the tiger to die when ^' ^ 
such statutes are spread on the statute book of California 
in the nineteen-hundred-and-thirteenth year after Christ? 
Lord, Lord, they only crucified Christ. They have done 
far worse to Jake Oppenheimer and me. . . . — ' 

As Ed Morrell once rapped to me with his knuckles: 
" The worst possible use you can put a man to is to hang 
him." ]^o, I have little respect for capital punishment. 
"Not only is it a dirty game, degrading to the hangdogs 
who personally perpetrate it for a wage, but it is degrad- 
ing to the commonwealth that tolerates it, votes for it, and 
pays the taxes for its maintenance. Capital punishment 
is so silly, so stupid, so horribly unscientific. " To be 
hanged by the neck until dead," is society's quaint phrase- 
ology. . . . 

Morning is come — my last morning. I slept like a 
babe throughout the night. I slept so peacefully that once 
the death watch got a fright. He thought I had suffocated 
myself in my blankets. The poor man's alarm was piti* , 
ful. His bread and butter was at stake. Had it truly 
been so, it would have meant a black mark against him, 
perhaps discharge — and the outlook for an unemployed 
man is bitter just at present. They tell me that Europe 
began liquidating two years ago, and that now the United 
States has begun. That means either a business crisis 
or a quiet panic and that the armies of the unemployed 
will be large next -winter, the bread-lines long. , * ^ 



328 THE STAK ROVEE 

I have had my breakfast. It seemed a silly thing to do, 
but I ate it heartily. The warden came with a quart of 
whiskey. I presented it to Murderers' Eow with my com- 
pliments. The warden, poor man, is afraid, if I be not 
drunk, that I shall make a mess of the function and cast 
. reflection on his management. . . . 

They have put on me the shirt without a collar. . . . 

It seems I am a very important man this day. Quite 
a lot of people are suddenly interested in me. . . . 

The doctor has just gone. He has taken my pulse. I 
asked him to. It is normal. . . . 

I write these random thoughts, and, a sheet at a time, 
they start on their secret way out beyond the walls. . . . 

I am the calmest man in the prison. I am like a child 
about to start on a journey. I am eager to be gone, curious 
for the new places I shall see. This fear of the lesser 
death is ridiculous to one who has gone into the dark so 
often and lived again. . . . 

The warden with a quart of champagne. I have dis- 

.. patched it down Murderers' Eow. Queer, isn't it, that I 

j am so considered this last day. It must be that these men 

who are to kill me are themselves afraid of death. To 

quote Jake Oppenheimer: I, who am about to die, must 

seem to them something " God-awful." . . . 

Ed Morrell has just sent word in to me. They tell me 
He has paced up and down all night outside the prison wall. 
Being an ex-convict, they have red-taped him out of seeing 
me to say good-bye. Savages ? I don't know. Possibly 



THE STAR EOVER 329 

just children. I'll wager most of them will be afraid to be 
alone in the dark to-night after stretching mj neck. 

But Ed Morrell's message : " My hand is in yours, old 
pal. I know you'll swing off game." . . . 

The reporters have just left. I'll see them next, and 
last time, from the scaffold, ere the hangman hides my face 
in the black cap. They will be looking curiously sick. 
Queer young fellows. Some show that they have been 
drinking. Two or three look sick with foreknowledge of 
what they have to witness. It seems easier to be hanged 
than to look on. . . . 

My last lines. It seems I am delaying the procession. 
My cell is quite crowded with officials and dignitaries. 
They are all nervous. They want it over. Without a 
doubt, some of them have dinner engagements. I am 
really offending them by writing these few words. The 
priest has again preferred his request to be with me to the 
end. The poor man — why should I deny him that sol- 
ace? I have consented, and he now appears quite cheer- 
ful. Such small things make some men happy ! I could 
stop and laugh for a hearty five minutes, if they were not 
in such a hurry. 

Here I close. I can only repeat myself. There is no] 
death. Life is spirit, and spirit cannot die. Only the/ 
flesh dies and passes, ever a-crawl with the chemic ferment 
that informs it, ever plastic, ever crystallizing, only to melt 
into the flux and to crystallize into fresh and diverse forms 
that are ephemeral and that melt back into the flux. Spirit ^ 
alone endures and continues to build upon itself through ' 
successive and endless incarnations as it works upward to- ! 
ward the light. What shall I be when I live again ? I / 
\vonder. I wonder. ... ' 



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